By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Emmanual D. Mendy, the executive director of the Gambia National Youth Service Scheme has told the National Assembly Select Committee on Tourism, Arts, culture, Youth and sport that the huge deduction of its annual budget has hindered the development of the institution.
The institution’s budget, Mendy added, used to be D6Million Dalasi. However, it has now been reduced up to 2.5 million dalasi; something he said is seriously hindering the development activities of the NYSS.
He made this remark at his office while meeting the select committee members who are currently on a tour of institutions under their purview. The tour according to parliamentarians is meant among other things to get firsthand information of the activities, achievement, constraints and challenges the relevant institutions are encountering with a view to coming out with tangible recommendation.
NYSS he said was established by an Act of parliament in 1995 with the aim of supporting young people to acquire skills for employment or self employment all over the 7 administrative areas in the country.
He admitted to the fact that from 2011 to 2016, NYSS was not effectively functional as a result of the limited budget they were receiving from the central government, which he said is not enough to pay staff salaries and carry out other activities.
“Every year we are registering 200 youths of which they stay in our camp for a period of 6 weeks for orientation. After the 6 weeks orientation they are sent to different institutions for 22 months for skills training. The institution is paying for their transportation every month. We spend 2 million dalasi on them for the period of 2 years,” he explained.
Funding, poor facilities, transportation and poor electricity supply, he went on, are among the top challenges the institution is encountering.
The Chairman of the select committee Honourable Momodou Camara dwelled on the significance of the tour. Camara added that some of the constraints highlighted will be raised during the presentation of the Ministry of Youth and Sport report 2015 to 2016 to the National Assembly.
In a separate development, the select committee members also visited the President’s International Award (PIA) in Bakau as well as the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) on Kairaba Avenue.
At PIA, the executive director Sainey Drammeh said the institution was established in 1979 to deal with young people in The Gambia targeting age from 14 to 25. He noted that they are currently operating in 48 schools across the country with a total of 9316 young participants.
Rehabilitation of their old class room, transportation and qualified teachers, Drammeh noted, are major issues affecting PIA.
Landing B Sanneh, general manger of NEDI said the institution aims to support youth and women on entrepreneurship development. He explained that they get funding from the government and other support from the Agricultural projects. He said they have trained over 2000 youth on entrepreneurship, adding that insufficient funds, lack of vehicles, and office space are some of their constraints and challenges.