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Gov’t to decide fate of 100 OIC vehicles soon

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By Omar Bah

The Minister of Information, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, has disclosed that the government will soon discuss what would be the fate of the one hundred vehicles it purchased for the hosting of the OIC Summit.  

Reacting to a Standard question on the issue yesterday at a press conference organised to discuss the aftermath of the Banjul OIC summit, Minister Ceesay stated: “There is nothing concrete yet from the government and I think in the subsequent days we will meet as a board to decide what would happen to those vehicles and get back to you in line with our proactive effort to disseminate information.”

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Commenting on whether the OIC projects will be audited and the report be shared with the public, Minister Ceesay said: “Obviously in line with the government’s effort to promote transparency and accountability that would happen. Remember an event of this magnitude where public funds are used must be audited and the outcomes of the audit will be made public as well.”

Minister Ceesay congratulated President Barrow for assuming the role of chairmanship of the OIC.

“This is a very important position for both the president and The Gambia. I am sure that he will provide strategic leadership for the organisation in fulfilling its mandate in providing unity and solidarity for member states of the OIC. We also thank him for leadership, vision and steadfastness in supporting the secretariat and the entire process to ensure that the summit was very successful,” he said.

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He said the government is pleased that all the 57 OIC member states were represented at the Banjul summit. Minister Ceesay said the Gambian leader has very complex issues to deal with during his tenure ranging from Palestine, Sudan, Yemen, Islamophobia, attacks on Muslim minority in India and Myanmar.  

“We are confident that he has the vision and leadership qualities to deal with all these issues,” he said.

The CEO of the OIC Gambia Secretariat, Yankuba Dibba, said the Banjul Summit has registered very positive outcomes and an ending that all Gambians should be proud of.  “This is just to tell you that we have a very successful summit by all counts, both logistics and management, because summits are evaluated not by the beauty of the road and so forth but by the quality of the declarations and quality of communiques that emanate from the summit and I am here to tell you that we have come up with the best outcomes that any summit can expect. We have been lucky to attend such summits and extraordinary summits but I must say this Banjul summit is one of the best that the OIC has ever organised,” Dibba said.

Hotel

Reacting to concerns over the planned construction of a new hotel that never took place, Mr Dibba said the government had made it clear that it doesn’t have the money to build the hotel. “We had wanted to take a loan at the beginning but then the loans weren’t concessional so we couldn’t get a hotel built on our own. So we, therefore, explored different possibilities and one of the possibilities that was identified was a Public Private Partnership, PPP, where we had a 100% equity and 90% of the equity was to be provided by a concessionaire and then 10% of the equity which is the land would be contributed by the government,” he said. Mr Dibba said a company dubbed EMOGAM was created to deal with the hotel project but unfortunately the work stalled. 

Audits

He disclosed that all the OIC Secretariat expenditures are being audited and his office is ready to be audited at all times and whenever necessary.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Mamadou Tangara disclosed that the government received a lot of unsolicited proposals from people charging them millions to help them organise the summit because they doubted the country’s capacity to do it. “If we had accepted those offers, we would have been in big trouble today because some of them were asking like 50,000 euros per month but we refused and insisted that we can do it,” he said. Minister Tangara singled out Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Senegal, Turkiye and Morocco for their tremendous support. 

He said apart from the 57 OIC member states who participated in the Banjul summit, 14 special envoys and observers within the organisation attended, adding that the summit was successful in all aspects.

The head of brand of the OIC, Nfally Fadera, said the country was able to mobilise over $350 million which was used to fund infrastructure projects ranging from roads, airport and others. He disclosed that more than 4500 individuals were accredited for the summit, adding that most of the logistical arrangements were awarded to Gambian companies led by young people. Mr Fadera added that hundreds of doctors, nurses and security officers were trained and deployed to ensure the successful hosting of the summit. He said all projects related to the OIC will be completed as planned.

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