SPECIALISED CAPACITY BUILDING FOR PAC/PEC MEMBERS UNDERWAY

Saikou Suwareh Jabai

The honorable members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly, yesterday specialised-capacity-building24th October, 2016, began a two-day specialized capacity building training workshop on public finance management for effective oversight.

Held at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, the training is delivered by A-Plus- The Gambia and funded by World Bank.

The convergence is also meant to refresh the NAMs’ knowledge, experience and understanding of four principal legal instruments of Government on Budget Management and Public Finance Management (PFM).

In his welcoming remarks, the honorable Clerk of the National Assembly, Dodou C. M. Kebbeh, welcomed the participants to what he described as a ‘wrapped-up’ capacity building for members of the Assembly. He thanked the World Bank and the African Development Bank for their continuous support to the Assembly. He said the PAC/PEC has demonstrated outstanding effective service to the Assembly and it is notable among African parliaments.

He thanked the government for their support to the development of the Assembly, adding that before the second republic, fewer than three (3) million dalasis was spent on legislature from the national budget and that now, the government allocates about ninety four (94) million dalasis on the legislature.

The honorable clerk said about a year ago, his office had a meeting with the World Bank and identified certain gaps in the PAC/PEC in twenty-four (24) thematic areas. Six (6) of those themes, he added, are given  A-Plus- The Gambia to conduct.

He finally assured that the program will equip the PAC/PEC participants with the requisite skills and knowledge to become better scrutinizers.

The Executive Director of A-Plus- The Gambia, Mr. Omar Ousman Jobe, said his institution was incorporated to promote and enhance good governance principles, through capacity building, policy support services and resource interventions to Parliament and Local Government Councils, whilst proactively working to empower citizens and facilitate women to vie for elective political office. While thanking the World Bank for the fund, he expressed hope that the budding partnership will be followed by many more similar engagements.

In officially opening the session, the Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly, Abdoulie Bojang, said as members of the National Assembly, it is their responsibility to ensure that Government and its public services, institutions and agencies are all accountable to the Gambian Tax-payers. He said it is against that backdrop that the capacity building training workshop is organized to further strengthen their capacity in order to better perform in its accountability and oversight role over public finances.

Honorable Bojang, who doubles as the Chairman of PAC/PEC, urged the members to participate proactively during the discussions and group work, hoping that by the end of the training, the skills of the members will be further enhanced.

He finally commended the government of The Gambia and World Bank for their continuous support to the National Assembly.

After the opening, the PAC/PEC members rolled out the sessions where significant presentations were made.