By Tabora Bojang
The Minority Leader of the National Assembly has warned Finance Minister Mambury Njie that he may find it difficult to pass his next budget if government fails to allocate funds for the construction of offices for lawmakers within the assembly complex.
Samba Jallow was reiterating a point made by Speaker Mariam Jack-Denton who called on the government and partners to invest in a new annex building to address the inadequate office accommodation faced by NAMs and some professional staff of the Assembly.
In his contribution on the matter, Samba Bah, member for Niamina Dankunku, said there is an urgent need for space at the National Assembly to enable NAMs to conduct meetings with their constituents instead of resorting to meeting them on the corridors.
“Honourable Speaker, I don’t think it would be fair for us to be looking for donors to come and build offices for members [NAMs]. Let us use state funds to build offices. The Finance Minister is here and I believe by next budget he should try and have a development budget to build offices for NAMs to be able to hold meetings with their people right here in the assembly. You will find members here meeting with their constituents in the corridors or in the two available offices we have. I think it is high time the executive, especially the Finance Minister, considered putting this fund in the budget. If not by next time, you may find it difficult to pass your budget,” Jallow warned.
The NRP man, who has been serving as the minority leader in the National Assembly since 2012, hailed his colleague NAMs for their ‘selfless services’ in serving the interest of the electorate.
He claimed if not for formality, all members will ‘retain’ their seats in the April elections.
The Minority Leader also disclosed that members of the fifth legislature enjoyed cordial working relations despite coming from six different parties and one being independent.
“We have seen in other parliaments where you only have two parties and they are marred with controversies. But here it is very difficult to see any of us even arguing bitterly. We have been working harmoniously towards developing this country,” Samba Jallow added.