Gov’t owns over 600 buildings

Jun 24, 2024, 11:30 AM

Matar Ceesay, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, has informed that the government has over 600 buildings and facilities across the country.

He added that most of these structures are not properly maintained despite having commercial value.

PS Ceesay made this disclosure on Friday, 21 June 2024, at the opening ceremony of a two-day stakeholder retreat on The Gambia Public Buildings and Facilities Authority Bill scheduled from 21st to 22nd June 2024 at the Bakadaji Hotel.

PS Ceesay stated that the objective of the retreat was to provide a platform for stakeholders from various government ministries to review and refine the bill. "This will ensure public buildings and facilities meet the highest standards of accessibility, sustainability, and safety."

Discussing the bill, PS Ceesay disclosed that the bill stems from a policy review that was conducted by ministry officials two years ago.

"We realised a need to conduct an inventory of all government buildings and come up with policy recommendations that would guide the administration of such buildings and facilities,” he said.

Matar Ceesay further informed the gathering that the bill's adoption establishes the requirement to divide the roles of the building sector's policies, operations, and regulations. He revealed that the National Assembly demanded that the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure's Department of Technical Services (DTS) to be reorganised and turned into an Authority.

Hon. Yahya Menteng Sanyang, the National Assembly Member for Latrikunda Sabiji Constituency and chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Government Projects and Evaluation, said when the bill was tabled by the minister, his committee conducted series of consultations and realised there were contentious clauses that needed further discussion with the relevant stakeholders and the ministry. He described the meeting as crucial to ensuring that there is clarity and consensus on concerned issues.

“We want to make sure that we deliver progressive laws, and we cannot do that without consulting the relevant stakeholders and citizens,” he said.

Hon. Sanyang added that the National Assembly is here to promote laws that are in the interest of the people and not to “take away people's jobs.”

The bill, he went on, seeks to establish a public Building and Facilities Authority to adequately guide the construction and maintenance of buildings, public works infrastructures and facilities in The Gambia.