Gambia: PIA Undergoes Restructuring, Top Officials Removed

Top officials of the President International Award (PIA) have been relieved of their duties, following a recent massive restructuring exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Daily Observer has learnt.

According to our sources, the senior officials of the institution were not appointed under any lawful act by the Ministry and have not received any official appointment.

Confirming this development to this reporter Tuesday, the minister of Youth and Sports Alieu K. Jammeh said his Ministry since last year, started a comprehensive restructuring with the objective of making the Ministry and its institutions better equipped human and material wise and to be more responsive to its core mandate which is to address youth and sports development in the country.

He explained that the restructuring exercise started with the Independence Stadium, which now has a new board and a management in place. He added that the same exercise was also done at the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS).

Minister Jammeh pointed out that in the case of the National Enterprise Development (NEDI) there has never been a formal and legal structure in place, but today the Ministry has a draft bill and draft business plan for NEDI.

For the President International Award, he said the Ministry has done its findings to see whether there was any act for the institution but nobody was able to find any act to show that it is a legal entity. He also indicated that all the people working at the PIA were never formally appointed.

Minister Jammeh disclosed that an interim management has been put in place at the moment, which is working on producing a proposed legal framework, putting in place a personnel management system and a financial control system for the institution.

He said that currently the Ministry has terminated the services of all the senior staff and declared their positions vacant and that those positions will be advertised while the former staff have been asked to apply for formal employment.

He further stated that the Ministry has also realised that the National Youth Council and the National Sports Council had a conflicting role with the Department of Youth and Sports.

"Because of these, we are now reviewing the Acts of the Councils, thus, enabling them to turn the Department of Youth and Sports into a Planning Unit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The aim of the Ministry is to reform and strengthen the institutions under its purview," he concluded.

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