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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Mayor Lowe speaks on achievements, reelection bid

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By Omar Bah

Banjul mayor Rohey Malick Lowe has listed curtailing corruption, revenue digitalisation, women empowerment and increasing the city council’s revenue as some of her notable achievements.

Speaking in a Standard exclusive yesterday, Mayor Lowe said ahead of the 2018 mayoral election, her campaign prepared a manifesto following consultation with residents of Banjul and that 95 percent of that manifesto has been achieved.

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She said transforming the council, women empowerment, drilling boreholes, addressing corruption, construction of toilets, improvement staff welfare and waste management were among the things her electorate wanted  addressed.

Mayor Lowe said there was no usable toilet at the Albeit Market in 2018, saying people used to go to their homes. “Banjul was in an emergency room and needed to be resuscitated. Even at the council, there was a serious lack of discipline. The CEO was not respected and there were a lot of ghost workers. When we came, there was no running water or electricity. We fixed that within seven weeks and paid all the debts the council owed Nawec. We also created a taskforce to galvanise residents of Banjul who have expertise in different fields to come onboard and assist us restructure the council,” Mayor Lowe said.

She said the council was in a serious financial distress because they were owing almost all the banks in the country but they have paid all those debts and closed all the accounts except the ones at Sahel and Trust Banks.

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“We have also managed to bridge the capacity gaps. The majority of our staff have been sent to China, India and other countries while others went to the University of The Gambia. When we came, most of the staff, from revenue collectors to cleaners, were earning about D2,000 per month. I said no, that is unacceptable and thank God today no staff is going home with less than D6,000. We also introduced disciplinary measures with a clock-in-and-out system because some staff were not coming to work but at the end of the month they will come and collect their salaries,” she said.

Lowe alleged that the council still has one staff member who doesn’t come to work but receives his salary because he is supporting NPP and feels like doing whatever he wanted and that nothing would come out of it.

“We are just waiting for the right time to deal with him because I am sure even the president will not encourage any NPP supporter to do that,” she added.

She said the council was not having a procurement and records office but her administration immediately created those offices to ensure smooth service delivery.

“Also, when we came, the council had about 25 security guards but today, we have about 90 security officers. We have also appointed more personnel and that has improved efficiency. We are also sponsoring over 400 students in the university and other educational learning institutions. We have drilled many boreholes and we are supporting a unit at the EFSTH. We also embarked on tree planting to complement the government’s effort in addressing coastal erosion and built eight toilets across the capital. We did all this despite being one of the poorest councils because the government has taken most of our revenue sources,” she noted.

She disclosed that the council used to collect around D20 million from car parks but now they receive only D3 million and the rest goes to GRA.

“When it comes to billboards, we collect D6 to D7 million but NRA collects that now so most of our revenue sources have been taken over by the government while many shops are now relocating to the Kombos and the port is gradually killing Banjul,” she added.

EU Funding

She said the BCC is the first local council to secure funding from the European Union.

“It was later that the KMC also requested and they were lucky to be funded by the EU. This is a big achievement for me and the council,” she stated.

Mayor Lowe added that she is the first Anglophone mayor to serve as Rafela president, and that she is also the second vice president of the Global Parliament of Mayors and the president of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum.

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