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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Cabinet wants president’s total control of SG

By Alagie Manneh

Contrary to the intent of the draft constitution for greater autonomy to be divested in the head of the civil service, President Barrow’s Cabinet has contended that the SG should remain under the supervision of the President.
The CRC, in its draft has said that the secretary general “shall not, in the performance of his or her functions, be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority…”

However, specifying its position on the draft constitution in a document seen by The Standard, the Cabinet told CRC to “delete” such a provision giving liberty to the secretary general and head of the civil service to act on his or her own accord.
“Delete this provision because the secretary general works under the President and undertakes assignments given to him or her by the President,” the Cabinet paper demanded.
“He or she cannot be divorced from presidential supervision, direction, control or authority,” it added.

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The Cabinet argued that since the president is ultimately accountable to the people for the efficient running of government ministries and departments, his powers to ensure efficiency through an ability to remove the CEO’s must not be restrained.

“The position of a CEO should also be performance-based and since the president retains ultimate responsibility for the performance of public enterprises, it is essential for him to retain the power of removal,” the paper observed.
The Cabinet recommendation was sent after the unveiling of the first draft. However, the CRC did not include the recommendations in the final draft which was sent to the president and has since been gazetted.

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