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City of Banjul
Monday, May 23, 2022

’Minister should not approve travel clearance for mayors’

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By Tabora Bojang

The mayor of Banjul, Rohey Lowe, has called on President Adama Barrow to remove an executive order that vested powers in the minister of regional government to among other things, approve travel clearances for mayors.

Speaking at the Banjul City Council town hall meeting at the Banjul Mosque Road on Saturday, Mayor Lowe decried that such lack of autonomy has placed local government bodies “under the whims and caprices” of the government and impedes the local governments in their quest to bring about much-needed socio-economic developments.

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“There is a slow bureaucracy in most council decisions. This has disrupted us a lot. In many circumstances, the council has to write to the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government if it has to do certain things such as travel and wait for the response of the minister. If today the mayor of Dakar calls me as the mayor of Banjul to travel there to discuss a pressing concern that is for the good of my people, I have to seek a travel clearance from the minister and if he does not approve, such a travel will not happen. In fact this is not a constitutional provision, it was only an executive order and this government is still sticking to it. I have decried this on many occasions and I am here again reiterating it to the minister that this is not a constitutional provision but a mere executive order and I urge President Barrow to remove it because it is only the president who has power to remove an executive order,” Lowe stated.

The mayor added that the Council also faces other impediments including lack of subvention from government, lack of autonomy to approve its own budget, lack of power to evaluate properties and inability to recruit staff above Grade 5.

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