The Barrow Led Administration Should Desist From Irresponsible Spending
By Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Reference is made to the leaked letter OP118/01/TEMP (PT) signed by a personnel of the Office of the President on 16 July 2019 addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly that reads ‘‘approval has been granted for the 18 officials to travel to Dakar, Senegal to represent the Government of the Gambia at the funeral of the late Ousman Tanor Dieng from 16 to 18 July 2019’’
It could be recall that Ousmane Tanor Dieng, was the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party. He was appointed Diplomatic Advisor to Presidents Leopold Sedar Senghor and Abdou Diouf. He was also the President of Senegal’s High Council of Territorial Collectivities and died on Monday 15th July 2019 at the age of 72.
The question one might be quick to ask shall be why should a poor country like the Gambia that relies on foreign aid and grant to waste such an amount considering the challenges faced by the sovereign citizens on a daily bases?
Assuming that the Per Diem per night is £250 by 18 personnel will be £4,500 and in 3 days as stated will be £13,500 which is equivalent to Eight Hundred and Ten Thousand Dalasis (D810,000) excluding fuel and the cost of travel insurance.
The Office of the President through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad could have communicated to the Gambia Ambassador in Dakar to represent The Government at the said funeral. As such a move will cut cost which could have been used to address our poor health sector. Furthermore, why should they even spend 3 days at the funeral of a person who died since on 15th July 2019 and what economic benefit will that bring to the Gambia?
Dr. Guy Blaise Nkamleu a senior advisor to the Vice-President at the African Development Bank said, the per diems that were introduced with good intentions have gradually turned into a powerful distortion tool that alters the impact of development efforts. Many workshops and meetings are nowadays used to make money, reward friends and acquaintances, and strengthen networks to the detriment of stated goals of capacity-building.