A source familiar with the Ministry of the Interior has revealed that government is paying up to 3 Million dalasis to house the building, which the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is occupying along the Bertil Harding Highway annually.
A senior government officer, who made this disclosure on Friday during the Permanent Secretaries Mid-Year Retreat 2017 held at a local hotel in Brufut said: “I think it is very important for government ministries and agencies to find land and build it, so as to ensure that the government is not spending huge amount of money in paying rents.”
Reacting to the issue, a participant at the forum lamented that; “the government needs to look at these issues critically. The economic of the country is not stable at the moment, so I don’t think it is wise for the government to be paying 3 million dalasis just for rent.”
Others at the forum called on the ministries and government institutions that are renting to work with the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government to secure lands for them, in which they can build their offices rather than government paying huge amounts of money on rent.
Readers could recall that the minister of the Interior Mai Ahmed Fatty in his interview with the Daily Observer’s Omar Wally; he was asked that The Gambia government complains of inheriting a bankrupt economy, yet the Ministry of the Interior moved from Banjul to an expensive complex along Bertil Harding Highway.
Mai said; “Gambia today is not the same Gambia yesterday. This is Security Ministry, you go down where Ministry of Interior was, the place was very tide, and some of our staff had to put their laptops on their laps to work because there is no work space”.
The Interior minister added that some of the staff had to use the conference room and when the conference room is in use then the staff had to go out.
Mai added that another consideration is the location itself, is inappropriate and it is in the middle of residencies. He said even when foreign dignitaries or partners comes, when climbing the building, you see children taking bath, people are cooking next door and food meals is around.
The building, he said, is the wrong place for the Security Ministry to be placed. “In fact, I wonder how previous minister’s work in such an environment. The Security Ministry should give you an indication about our seriousness towards security but that was very wrong representation,” he defended.
by Momodou Jawo