By Bekai Njie
The Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure has clearly stated that the government does not have money to fund the construction of roads in the city of Banjul.
Bai Lamin Jobe made this disclosure on Wednesday following an outdoor meeting by councilors and members of the Banjul City Council led by Mayoress Rohey Malick Lowe about the reconstruction project of roads in the city of Banjul.
BCC officials on Wednesday confronted the Transport Minister at the Banjul Seaport while coming from a nationwide tour, claiming that they were sidelined over the details of the Banjul reconstruction project.
The Mayoress of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, told the Minister that her council (BCC) did not know anything about the project apart from being invited to attend its launching.
“I have been asked questions about this project several times both by my councilors, the media and the general public, but I cannot find any answers because I simply don’t know anything about the project.”
She indicated that she has been knocking on doors since coming into office about the project and has had meetings with the contractor Hadim Gai and the Minister himself about the project.
“Being a representative of BCC, I should at least see the project documents so as to know a detail about how much money is involved or at least which streets are to be paved.”
“I inaugurated a committee that will be assisting both Hadim Gai as the contractor and the ministry but in response, the ministry wrote to the BCC asking us not to be involved because it is not our business and it is the central government project and should be controlled by the Ministry of Works.”
Responding, the Minister of Works said that they did not tender anything about the project because the client which is the government didn’t have money for the project.
“We did our technical documents to come out with the cost of the project and we went around to look for contractors who are willing to pre-finance the project without asking for money for one year, in which we will be paying in five years,” said Minister Jobe.
Transport Minister further indicated that there is no money to award someone the contract, but stated that the project is been pre-financed by Gai Enterprise with an international consultant to supervise the work.
“If we tender this project, it means the government is financing the project. This project is called EPC contract which means that someone wants to do something but don’t have money for it,” he divulged, adding that “this is why we did the technical documentation and invited whosoever wants to come and invest and be supervised by an international consultant,” he explained.
He finally assured the BCC councilors and officials that they would be able to access any information about the project during the normal stakeholders meeting to be updated on the project.