Legislature’s Development and Investment Plan pegged at $26m
The one-day event organised by the National Assembly of The Gambia in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is geared towards the Legislature’s continuous commitment to attain its vision “to be publicly perceived as an independent and democratic legislature serving the people of the Republic of The Gambia.”
“Today’s meeting is intended to deepen collaboration with you in strengthening the institutional and governance capacities of the National Assembly,” the Gambian President H.E. Yahya Jammeh told donors at the conference on Wednesday Feb. 16 in a statement read on his behalf by Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy.
President Jammeh said one of the top priorities of his government is to promote excellence in systems and processes and in democratic governance.
“We have always been committed to building and resourcing a fully fledged National Assembly that depicts our status and image as an independent republic dedicated to the principles of good governance and democracy,” he said. “The investment and strategic plan is one that sums up in a single documentation, the strategic direction that we wish to follow, to promote lasting excellence in parliamentary functions and capabilities.”
He said his government has demonstrated its attention to the Legislature by effecting an increase in budgetary allocation from D3 million in 1996 to approximately D40 million in January 2011.
“The estimated total cost of our Development and Investment Plan is $26 million. This includes the building and resourcing of the new state-of-the-art National Assembly, to which the Government of The Gambia has already provided funds up to $10 million,” Hon Abdoulie Bojang, the Speaker of the National Assembly revealed.
He said they have not taken for granted the significant executive support and are not directing it to increase salaries and emolument of members and staff, but to programmes, institutional reforms and capacity building.
The UN Resident Coordinator H.E. Chinwe M. Dike, whose remark was read by the UNDP Programme Specialist, Governance and Human Rights H.E. Basirou Jahumpa, said parliamentary development remains a key focus of the UNDP.
H.E. Dike said in 2007, the UNDP initiated a one-year preparatory project assistance project for the National Assembly, followed by a two-year (2008-2009) capacity building programme, as well as the National Governance Programme (2009-2011) to further support sustainable capacity of parliament.