By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Transport, Works & Infrastructure and partners in both government and the private sector recently scrutinised and validated the country’s first buildings & facilities policy.
The draft policy which seeks to give the ministry a clear vision of public buildings and facilities for the next ten years was validated at a daylong interactive forum held at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
In his opening remarks, the minister of transport Bai Lamin Jobe said his ministry’s decision to develop a comprehensive national building and facilities policy (2018-2027), shows that they are making progress.
“In recognising that the country cannot develop without the necessary policies to guide the management of the public buildings and facilities subsector in the country,” he said.
He added: “The policy will promote enabling environment at all levels for improved public buildings and facilities. Refine and improve, where needed, the regulations and management of the public buildings and facilities subsector.”
The policy, he said will also strengthen key stakeholders to undertake their responsibilities more effectively and efficiently, “ensuring that institutional arrangement within the government is adequate to ensure government compliance with the policy.”
He said the policy will also ensure the setting of standards to facilitate suitability and sustainability throughout the life-cycle of buildings, “taking into account the environment, health, safety, security considerations and training of professionals.”
He said it will also support the governance of public buildings and facilities at the central and local governments.
“The policy is necessarily guided by fundamental principles, which gives it value. Such principles are equity, sustainability, accessibility to all,” he said.
The minister of transport, works & infrastructure further informed the meeting that the draft policy will be finalised to a policy document which will be later presented to Cabinet for review and adoption.
“From there it will be presented to the National Assembly for further scrutiny and adoption,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PS ministry of transport, works and infrastructure Mariama Ndure-Njie said her ministry being the technical arm of government, saw the urgent need to develop a sustainable national public buildings and facilities policy to adequately guide the construction and maintenance of buildings and other public works, infrastructure and facilities in the Gambia.
The building and construction sector, she said despite the challenges it’s facing as highlighted in the draft policy, the sector is still very important to the Gambia’s socio economic development.
The sector, she added provides employment for different categories of employees.
“However, for it to contribute fully to the nation’s development as envisaged in our development blueprints, we must address those challenges and that is exactly what we are trying to do right now,” she concluded.