Nov 3, 2009, 2:20 PM
Following the recent completion of a major refurbishment of the main office of the Department of Forestry in Banjul, the Director of Forestry has also carried out another refurbishment of the Department of Forestry in Brikama with a view to uplifting the working condition of the regional forestry office.
Speaking to this reporter shortly after the completion of the rehabilitation exercise, the director of forestry, Abdoulie Sanneh, said the exercise was one of his priorities since he was appointed as director of forestry.
According to Mr Sanneh, a good working condition for his staff has been a long-time target to ensure the staff are well motivated and work under a conducive environment that will enable them to deliver efficiently.
He said that through the support of the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the President in particular, his office was able to acquire funds through the approval of the Development Fund from the 2010 budget allocated for the department. This, he added, enabled them to carry out a major office renovation at the main headquarters.
“The renovation has been successfully completed and the main office has been well furnished,” Mr Sanneh said, adding that the accomplishment propelled them to proceed with the renovation of the regional forestry office in Brikama, West Coast Region, “which has never been renovated for the past forty-two years”.
Plans are also underway for the renovation of other forestry stations countrywide, especially those under terrible conditions like Jeloki Forest Station in Upper River Region North, he says.
“This station is currently in a very bad state because it has never been renovated since its establishment in 1999 - 2000 despite the existence of a heavily funded OMVG Project in the region for the past years,” he said.
Mr Sanneh commended the Office of the President, the Personnel Management Office (PMO) and the Public Service Commission for their support, which, he added, enabled him to promote twenty-five staff in the department to various senior positions ranging from Grade five to Grade ten with effect from July 1, 2010.
These promotions, he noted, would help the department in retaining its staff and preventing them from leaving for better paid jobs “due to frustrations”.
Highlighting some of the achievements registered by his department, Sanneh said two brand new double cabin pickup vehicles were procured for his department from the approved National Forest Fund with the support of the Ministry of Finance, the Gambia Public Procurement Authority and the Office of the President.
He also stated that his department registered “tremendous development” in 2010 in tree planting exercise countrywide, for the attainment of the annual one million tree planting exercise initiated by President Jammeh.
He revealed that with the support of the PMO, 30 new staff of his department have been recruited and are currently undergoing three-month orientation in preparation for a nine-month theoretical training at the Kafuta Forestry Training School.
He said that under the UNDP project support to environment and energy sectors, 80 personnel including forestry staff and local communities were trained on Agro-Forestry Techniques, Community Forestry, Forestry Concepts, Biodiversity Conservation and Medicinal Plants Propagation and establishment techniques.
Mr Sanneh urged his staff to live up to expectations since “the government has given all” the necessary support to his department for effective and efficient service delivery.