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NEA report adopted

Feb 11, 2010, 11:42 AM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah & Alieu Jabang

The members of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee and the Public Enterprises Committee jointly sitting at the Assembly Chambers in Banjul yesterday unanimously accepted and adopted the annual financial report, management letter and the annual activity report of the National Environment Agency, NEA.

The committees are jointly sitting in Banjul to scrutinize public enterprises and institutions for the purpose of accountability.

The Executive Director of the National Environment Agency appeared before deputies alongside his Finance Director, Bunja Dibba.

In responding to the questions raised by the members of the joint committee, Mr. Sarr told deputies that "the new office complex was built with the permission of the President", adding that "almost 14 million Dalasis was used for the construction of the new office complex."

The NEA Executive Director also told deputies that enforcement of the anti-littering law is not that much effective, but he was quick to add that there has been a great improvement in waste management and collection, coupled with the monthly "set settal."

He added that the Justice ministry had provided a magistrate who is now sitting prosecuting anti-littering offenders.

"The anti-littering law is enforceable all over The Gambia, and the process of decentralization is on. Basse and Bansang are in the pipeline to have their own magistrates," he informed deputies.

He added: "Staff constraint is one of our concerns; we have trekking staff who normally visit big "lumos" and communities to see what is on the ground, and to conduct a sensitization programme for communities," and that those staff in the rural areas use motor-bike trekking.

On the issue of coastal erosion, which was raised by a member, Mr. Sarr continued: "We need scientific assessment (specialist either geologists, biologists to work on it) first to know the actual cause of coastal erosion."

On the issue of dustbins in the street, he said that was attempted, but they failed because some people used those dustbins to put household waste, which it was not meant for, but for street users.

Concerning dumping toxic waste in the River or sea in The Gambia, the NEA boss asserted that it carries a penalty of imprisonment for 40 years.

Regarding the issue of sand mining, Mr. Sarr further informed Gambian lawmakers that sand mining is not under the NEA, but the Geology Unit, adding that "NEA is not aware of any sand mining in Kartong."

The Finance Director of NEA responding to questions on the financial affairs of the agency, spoke of the need to "pay royalties with the intervention of the National Assembly."

Assembly Speaker Elizabeth Renner announced that "there are still some outstanding issues" and that, in a few months time, the NA would have to present the financial reports not audited (for the period 2007 to 2009).

"We hope that queries that happened in other financial years may not happen in the 2008-2009 report, when you come back," she said, while congratulating the NEA for their "recent sanitization campaign currently on within the communities."