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Friday, July 12, 2024

Gov’t should adopt NAMs’ vehicle policy for ministers

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By Omar Bah

A few days after he received his brand-new Prado 4 wheel drive car, Samba Jallow, the former minority leader and Member for Niamina Dankunku, said the government should adopt the National Assembly’s vehicle policy for ministers and civil servants.

The NAMs new vehicles were purchased at D2.5 million each with the members paying half of the cost as well as taking care of its fuel and maintenance since it is theirs to keep even after they leave the Assembly. Ever since the fleet arrived, Gambians took to social media to lambast the NAMs for choosing a luxurious life style when their constituents are grappling with daily economic hardship.

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Speaking about the vehicles to Star FM, Samba Jallow said he has nothing to regret about driving a Prado.

“I think the manner and conditions of the vehicles policy are transparent, fair and reasonable. I believe if all the government institutions or ministries utilise a policy like that, we will no longer find government vehicles scattered everywhere because those driving them will protect them as their own. I propose government embrace this policy,” he said. 

About the concerns over the high cost of the cars, Mr Jallow said: “I don’t feel guilty or ashamed driving my Prado because what is important and matters is how I get the car. It is true that we have people who are extremely poor and some who are rich in The Gambia but that is the nature of the world. I am representing the interest of the country at the National Assembly, so if I don’t have a car, that would make it very difficult for me to do my work effectively. I cannot struggle looking for car everyday to go to the assembly. That’s too stressful. So the vehicle will help me run the needed errands for my constituency.”

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Jallow said though NAMs were entitled to transport allowance but “even if we add everything together, that cannot buy us a car. That is why we developed a policy where the Assembly will put together all these allowances in the span of five years and use it as our contribution to the costs of the cars while government pays the remaining balance.”

He revealed that there was an idea for government to buy the vehicles and at the end of their term, NAMs could ask for the cars to be depreciated for them to buy them but “we said that might be an issue.

“So, we agreed that we should contribute together with the government to buy the vehicles. I think the public should thank us for choosing that very wise innovation which if followed by government institutions, will reduce costs on the government.  Under this method if a minister wants a car, he/she will contribute and the government will contribute,” he said.


He said people have all the right to criticise them but as far as he is concerned, his electorate are happy that he got a car to be able to do his function comfortably.

“We have explained to our electorate that it is the money we were receiving for our transport allowance that is deducted from our salaries to pay for the vehicles,” he said.

Asked why the Assembly has not thought about such innovations during Jammeh’s time, Hon Jallow said things like this were the reasons why Gambians opted for change in 2016. “You know during Jammeh’s time I would not have even talked about things like this,” he concluded.

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