16 April 2009

Gambia: National Assembly Committee On PAC/PEC Capacitised

Members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee of the National Assembly, last Thursday began a two-day capacity building training, designed to strengthen their capacity in relation to the Assembly's proactive role in good governance, gender and financial accountability.

This two-day seminar is among a number of such training programmes for the National Assembly, and it aims at strengthening and developing the skills of members of the PAC/PEC to enable them to effectively and efficiently carry out their responsibilities. It is also supposed to serve as a platform in facilitating discussions concerning the current developments in the roles and responsibilities of parliamentary oversight committees in democracies and also the effective public internal financial control to establish action points to improve, if necessary, accountability and transparency in The Gambia.

These two committees are tasked with the responsibility of scrutinising the accounts, activity reports and financial statements of the public enterprises and agencies of government, most importantly the report of the auditor general on the audited accounts of the government of The Gambia.

The chairman of the occasion, Bubacarr Sankareh, auditor general of The Gambia, highlighted the importance of the seminar. He disclosed that the session brought together the oversight committee of the National Assembly, the National Audit Office and other key stakeholders. He described the seminar as timely, since it accords them the opportunity to enhance public financial management and accountability.

The auditor general noted that developing countries like The Gambia, in most cases, are faced with the problem of what aspect of the economy is addressed at a particular point in time. Sound public financial management, Sankareh went on, is rooted in their genuine interest and it aims to make sure that public funds are spent for the purposes intended by the National Assembly.

Declaring the session open, Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay, speaker of the National Assembly, described the seminar as yet another indication of her office's desire to continuously capacitise members in order to enable them to execute their constitutional mandate effectively.

Speaker FJC urged the members to actively participate in the deliberations and to contribute positively towards the success of the training. She thanked the government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID), for funding the training. She expressed optimism that the National Assembly will continue to collaborate with DFID and their development partners towards building the capacities of the NAMs.

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