By Muhammad Bah
The members of the joint Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly have described the failure of Local Government Authorities (LGA) across the country to contribute financially to the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) violates the Act creating the Scheme in 1999.
The pronouncement made by the law makers was based on the report presented to them which indicates that LGA’s have refused to pay their annual contribution fees to the Scheme.
Mr. Emmanuel Mendy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NYSS, told the members of PAC/PEC that this refusal by the LGA’s to contribute to the scheme is making their work difficult.
In his intervention, Hon. Abdoulie Saine, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul Central, said he cannot understand why the regional Area Councils are not paying their contributions. He said if the authorities at the Scheme cannot get the Councils to contribute, then it is the duty of thw National Assembly to intervene and demand answers.
On the issue of the loans given to the NYSS members, CEO Mendy told the PAC/PEC that the loans are still outstanding and have not been paid as agreed.
In his intervention, Alhagie Mbye Chow, the NYSS Chairperson, said he was made to understand that among the people who took the loans are those with affiliations to political parties and claim to be highly influential. He said this is one of the reasons why the payment of the loans is still outstanding. He said this is unacceptable and that he will work to ensure that these loans are paid.
Responding to the question as to what measures he had taken to recover the loans, Mr. Mendy said the matter was forwarded to the Justice Ministry.
Hon. Ba Fai Saidykhan, NAM for Jarra East, in his intervention, said these are state resources and as such must be recovered.
Hon. Muhammed Magasseh, NAM for Basse, said the question is not whether or not the Board is willing to recover the money but what mechanisms are in place to ensure the recovery of the money.
In their interventions, several law makers have observed that the report that was submitted has lapses and that the Scheme must take note. They also noted that the accounts that were presented to them have problems and need rectification.
Hon. Magasseh asked Sutay Jawo, the Deputy Executive Director, to clarify what particular political party brought youth to NYSS to be trained. The Basse NAM said the NYSS is not meant for political parties and must stay neutral as a public entreprise for all young people in the Gambia.
Mr. Jawo, in response, said that is not the intention, adding that the Scheme is apolitical and welcomes any party to bring its youth to be trained.
In his intervention, Hon. Mam Cherno Jallow, NAM for Upper Numi, lamented the quota paid by the Area Councils and Municipalities for the training of young people in their areas of jurisdiction, adding that there are discrepancies of under payments and over payments. He criticized what he said is unfair recruitment of youth in the different regions as shown in the report, adding that such a practice of recruitment is unacceptable and called on the new board to change this approach.
At this juncture, the deputies unanimously considered and adopted the NYSS Report for the year ended 31st December 2012 and 2013.