By Madiba Singhateh
The Kanifing Municipal Council on Saturday began a one month citizens participatory budgeting, at the Old Jeshwang community.
The participatory budgeting will start in Jeshwang and end in Bakau New Town.
Nineteen communities within the Municipality will be involved in the first ever participatory budgeting of the Council.
Speaking at the community meeting, the imam of Old Jeshwang ward Mr. Baba Bajo thanked all those who participated in the dialogue.
He continued that they should know what to say on as representatives of their ward; that this is about the welfare of their community and expects everybody to participate in the consultative exercise.
Bakary Darboe, the Director of Community Services, KMC, said this is the first citizens participatory budgeting between the Municipal Council and the communities, to be held in Old Jeshwang; that the participatory budgeting approach is in line with the Local Government Act 2002, the Finance and Audit Act 2004 and the KMC’s strategic plan 2016-2020.
He said every year, Council formulates an annual estimate activity plan and budget.
“Although many resident tax payers report lacked of awareness on how decisions have been made at Council level, their voices have represented by the elected Councillors,” he said.
The Director of Community Services at the KMC said this participatory budgeting aims to address issues and empower communities to decide on or contribute to decisions made on their behalf such that, they have a direct input in determining the available resource allocation.
He said this approach will directly involve the communities in identifying their three- year development plan in accordance with section 90 sub-section 2 of the local Government Act 2002 which will be translated into the budget and incorporated into the council’s annual estimate activity plan and budget.
He said over the years, council’s projects which have been implemented at the community level end up being abandoned and dilapidated, therefore low level ownership continues being demonstrated by the community in the management of those projects due to low community involvement and participation during the planning and preparation of the council activity plans and budgets.
‘This means that communities are usually not fully consulted during council annual budget preparation’. He said.
Mr.Darboe added that the origin of community participatory emanated in Latin and South America in the late 1980s most notably in Brazil, where despite the high life expectancy and literacy, a third of the city’s population lived in isolated slums at the city outskirts and lack access to such public amenities as clean water sanitation medical facilities and schools.
Also speaking at the consultative meeting was the Alkalo of Old Jeshwang Musa Ceesay and the Ward Councilor Junkung Ba Dukureh.