Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Majority Leader Warns Cabinet Ministers

“Ministers Absence in Parliamentary Sittings Will No Longer Be Tolerated”-Hon Jatta

VOL:1 ISSN:32 The Majority Leader of the National Assembly of The Gambia, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta has issued a warning to Cabinet Ministers on their absence from National Assembly sittings cannot neither be compromised nor taken for granted, especially during budget discussions.
Hon. Jatta issued the warning on Tuesday 22nd December 2009 during an adjournment debate on the 2010 Budget at the National Assembly Building in Banjul. The Budget was tabled before Gambian lawmakers on Friday 17th December 2009, by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affair, Hon. Abdou Kolley for approval.

The Majority Leader, who is also the Member for Serrekunda East said that they expect cabinet ministers to be present whenever they are dealing with the budget estimate, in order to listen to comments and concerns raised, take note and answer questions on areas which need to be changed or sub-vented.
“Ministers can explain to the NAMs, in order to have a perfect and balanced budget allocation to all the Ministries,” he said.
Hon. Jatta stressed that if Ministers think that, “coming to the National Assembly during parliamentary deliberations as a waste of energy, the assembly as an institution have an instrument that give them the power to force Ministers to attend national assembly deliberations.”
According to him, some ministers just feel like not to attend national assembly sittings, even when very important issue are being discussed, that which are of national interest. He asked how can they respond to our questions and concerns in issues pertaining to their sectors when they are not present.
He also said that absence of ministers cannot be entertained by the national assembly, because such a behavior is disrespect and undermines the work of the national assembly as well.
He call on the entire Cabinet refrain themselves from such behaviors and urge them to be attending national assembly sitting regularly or either send their deputies to represent them, so that they can report back what has been debated upon.
On his part, the Member for Jimara Constituency, Hon. Mama Kandeh also expressed similar sentiments, saying that it is the duty and responsibility of ministers to attend national assembly deliberations so as to defend themselves or clarify issues that are not clear to the Assembly.
He also stressed that they are not expected to be debating amongst themselves until they are exhausted and have no one to respond to their arguments, only to depend on the media or the Speaker’s Office to inform the ministers on what have been debated upon, “it is a disappointment.”
Hon. Kandeh also expresses concern over teacher’s salary, saying that teacher’s salary should be increased, in order to have the quality education we need, and to meet our education target and the MDGs.
He said the Poverty Reduction Strategic Paper (PRSP) has indicated that if our educational target is to be met by 2015, there must be a qualified teachers who can gave quality education to our people, “then the people governing this sector has to look at their welfare and capacity.”
He also called on the Ministry of Education to take proper regulations on the school system as there are many schools operating in the country and many have not meet the required standard to operate in our education circles, as it could lead to a failure.

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