By Tabora Bojang
Banjul mayor, Rohey Lowe, has said financial abuses and administrative mismanagement have been the major impediments to Banjul’s development.
Lowe who became the capital’s first elected female mayor was speaking at the MacCarthy Square in Banjul marking 100 days since her election victory in May.
She said the absence of a smooth transition process from her predecessor and past failure to impose financial controls and policies in managing the council’s funds convinced her new administration to begin tenure with “a professional assessment of the financial and administrative” situation of the council.
“We have identified a debt sum of D8 million owed to several banks and suppliers with interests and overdraft charges accumulating all the time. We have unexplained expenditures without supporting documents worth over D1.6 million; non-payment of employees’ retirement benefits and pensions liabilities in the amount of D3 million; and payment of salaries to about 150 ghost or former employees,” Mayor Lowe revealed.
“These [people] have been acting like a cancer; they have plagued the council for decades, leaving the city nearly bankrupt. This situation prevented the city from doing its business properly, which is to serve Banjulians with the good governance they deserve so that the city can meet its duties and obligations towards them.”
According to the UDP-elected mayor, the discoveries are “shocking” and gave her administration the impetus to conduct the city’s business differently in a more transparent way to bring much-needed development to the city.
She averred that the council is working on innovative strategies to maximise revenues to address the needs of the city to improve the lives of Banjulians.
“We are engaged in a robust consultation with relevant stakeholders such as the GPA, NRA, and Gamworks for the reconstruction of Hill Street, Orange Street, Anglesea Street, Cameron Street, Picton Street, Leman Street, Wellington Street and Blanc Street just to name a few.
“Funds have been committed for the total rehabilitation of our sewage and drainage systems along with our roads. We are due to receive garbage and sanitation trucks that have already been shipped from China with an additional 3,000 garbage bins, 1,500 of these bins are due to arrive in the next four weeks, to ensure that all garbage are placed in secured bins, which should reduce insects that brings illnesses.”
According to Mayor Lowe, the construction of a new container terminal about to commence should bring in an estimated 200 jobs for the youths of Banjul.
“I stand here today with great pride that after 100 days, the council has managed to put the city onto a more fiscally and administratively responsible path towards good governance.”