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Public enterprises must be accountable

Sep 5, 2012, 9:24 AM

Making public enterprises and agencies accountable is indispensable in the development of any country, as it will help a great deal in the fight against the menace of corruption.

It is gratifying to note that the Joint Public Accounts and Enterprises Committees of the National Assembly will soon start receiving and considering annual reports and financial statements of all public enterprises and agencies of the Government of The Gambia.

Nothing can be more accountable than this. In a significant way, this is a clear demonstration of accountability and transparency in our society.

The exercise will, no doubt, give the lawmakers the opportunity to receive and consider their annual reports and financial statements.

Seen as it is, public enterprises and agencies will be more accountable and transparent now than ever before in all their activities.

They can no longer hoodwink the taxpayers, who partly or wholly funded them in this country. It will all be there for us all to see at the end of the exercise.

Yes, the exercise may not be popular with some, especially those involved in dubious deals, but we should all understand that it is geared towards performing lawful checks, scrutiny and oversight over public institutions and the public service delivery systems.

The meeting should not be seen as a witch-hunt, but rather as discharging fully the statuary duties entrusted to the National Assembly by the constitution and other laws of the country.

This is done with a view to ensuring that the Gambia government and its public service delivery systems, institutions, enterprises and agencies are accountable to the Gambian people.

Taxpayers should know how their money is being used, and this is one way of enabling them to do so.

We have seen over the years some public enterprises and agencies failing to submit their annual reports to the committees for scrutiny, or even if they do so, it is always very late.

One thing they should know is that they are only deceiving themselves, because sooner or later their inadequacy or whatever will stick out like a sore thumb.

It is the collective resolve and mandate of the lawmakers to make sure that the loans they ratified in the National Assembly or grants secured on behalf of the Gambian people are properly accounted for.

They represent the people and should, therefore, keep the public abreast of whatever is going on.

This we would all agree will boost donor confidence.

Public enterprises and agencies are for everybody. So anything that is done to make them more accountable and transparent to the general public should be supported.

“Trust in Allah, but tie your Camel.”

(Old Muslim Proverb)