By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Executive Director of A-Plus – The Gambia, Mr. Omar Ousman Jobe, said his institution is committed to complimenting government’s efforts in enhancing the capacity and performance of National Assembly and Local Government Council officials through the provision of specialized technical and professional trainings and research support services for better decision-making and effective oversight.
A-Plus- The Gambia was identified by the World Bank to conduct training of members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly on Public Finance Management held from the 24th to 25th October, 2016.
Incorporated in The Gambia in September, 2016, he said the institution is a non-state actor whose focus is in line with the Gambia Government’s governance and development agenda, including the promotion and empowerment of women and girls as contained in the Children’s Act (2005), the Women’s Act (2010), the Gender and the Women Empowerment Policy (2010-2020).
Part of their mission, he said, is 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 at National Assembly and Local Councils Levels and for the development of a home-grown non-State actors’ election observatory platform.
Mr. Jobe, who is hired by the World Bank as a consultant to oversee the National Assembly’s visit to World Bank funded project sites, said A-Plus seeks to build a Gambia in which the National Assembly and Local Government Councils discharge their duties effectively and efficiently. “A Gambia where citizens partake in the decision-making processes that affect their lives; where women are empowered and facilitated to accede to leadership and elective positions, and all national elections are documented, monitored, observed and evaluated by home-based Gambian experts to international standards,” he added.
Mr. Jobe, who was speaking to this reporter in an interview at his office along the Kairaba Avenue, said they want to contribute significantly towards the removal of the social, cultural and political barriers that deter women from taking their rightful place in the Gambian society.
The director said the legislature is a key stakeholder in national development and that it is supposed to be driven by seasoned and well trained National Assembly Members (NAMs) and support staff to make informed decisions. Similarly, he added, the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) ought to have competent Councilors to make devolution, decentralization, service delivery and accountability processes effective and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the local people.
Mr. Jobe said for the SDGs to succeed, social accountability initiative will have to be high on the agenda to ensure that duty bearers at all levels are accountable to citizens for better service delivery.
He said if National Assembly Members (NAMs) and Councilors are empowered with the requisite skills and knowledge, they shall be able to enact good laws and perform effective oversight. He noted that if these legal frameworks are adequately implemented by all the arms of government, good governance shall be promoted, ensured and mainstreamed in development including greater gender sensitivity in political representation, better service delivery and enhanced welfare for all and sundry.