By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly yesterday approved a $93 million funding agreement between the Saudi Fund for Development and The Gambia.
The four separate agreements comprise a $65 million loan agreement and a $32. 5 million grant financing to provide the ‘much needed infrastructure’ and energy projects to facilitate the successful hosting of the 2022 OIC summit in the Gambia.
The Director of the Saudi Fund for development and Finance minister Mamburay Njie signed the agreement on behalf of the two countries at a ceremony presided over by President Barrow last month.
Tabling the agreement before the assembly the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Mamburay Njie, said the objective of the project is to upgrade existing and build alternative roads with a 50 Kilo meter road network to contribute in reducing traffic congestion and provide standard airport infrastructure by constructing a VIP lounge at the Banjul airport.
According Minister Njie, other components of the project would rehabilitate water and sanitation networks that would provide safe drinking water to the residents and visitors during the OIC summit as well as to strengthen and upgrade the electricity network in the Greater Banjul Area.
Before approval, the proposal was a subject of critical parliamentary debates between lawmakers.
While others said it would see the country thrive and provide solutions to its erratic energy and poor infrastructures other argued that two and half years on government has not instituted any coherent policy to reduce lending as the country continues to depend on ‘loans and grants’ with important sectors like health, agriculture, education and energy remaining undermined.