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Saturday, September 23, 2023

NAM defends controversial Assembly vehicles

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By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Upper Saloum, Alhagie Mbowe, has defended the provision of ‘luxurious’ vehicles for NAMs.

The cars, each costing D2.5 million, are currently packed at the Assembly grounds, waiting for documentation and distribution to the NAMs.

Ever since pictures of the fleet surfaced online, many Gambians have taken to social media to lambast the NAMs for choosing a luxurious life when their constituents are grappling with daily economic hardship.

But reacting to the criticism in a Star FM exclusive, Mbowe said the NAMs are unfairly targeted.

“It is important to clear the misconceptions because the NAMs are paying half and the government is paying the remaining within the next five years. We are deducted D22,124 every month, and we are doing all this just to ease our movement. It is also important to state that we are going to be responsible for fuel, insurance and our drivers,” he said.

Mbowe said the NAMs should be applauded for taking up the initiative to jointly finance the vehicles with the government because the executive and the judiciary are allocated funds to purchase vehicles, and sometimes the government spends over D200 million on vehicles.

“The ministers, for example, have two vehicles, and their permanent secretaries and deputy secretaries are also allocated vehicles. Just last year, we approved a budget to buy vehicles for deputy governors, and their maintenance and fuel are paid for by the government. So, I think the executive and the judiciary should learn from the NAMs so that the country will be able to cut costs for taxpayers. This is why we are calling for the implementation of the vehicle policy,” he said.

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