30 November 2012

Gambia: GAMWORKS Hold AGM Receive D231 Million Inflows

The Director General of Gambia Agency for the Management of Public Works (GAMWORKS), Ebrima Cham has said that his Agency has received inflows of funds totaling D211million. Out of the amount he said, contractors were paid D156million, D4million was paid to consultants and D3million was paid to other service providers. GAMWORKS's Director was speaking yesterday at his Agency's Annual General Meeting held at their Headquarters in Kanifing.

Mr. Ebrima Cham went on to add that during the year under review, two projects and thirteen Delegated Management Contracts (DMCs) were under implementation in the Agency. He explained that the Gambia Government received loan financing in the of of US$ 15.86 million and a technical Assistance Grant of US$ 400,000 from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) towards the cost of the Community -based Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project (CILIP). He added that the Gambia Government by way of counterpart contribution is financing US$ 880,000, local Councils and Sub-project Beneficiaries US$ 880,000 giving a total project cost of US$ 18.02million. He stated that the loan and Technical Assistance Grant Agreements were signed between the IDB and Gambia Government on 25th October 2010. He explained that the aim of the CILIP project is to support Government's strategy to alleviate poverty in the rural and peri-urban areas. "The project will empower beneficiary communities and improve their livelihood and welfare through financing demand -driven community infrastructure and livelihood activities", he said. Mr Cham further said the project consists of community infrastructure facility, livelihood improvement fund, institutional development, project implementation support and consultancy services.

In September 2011, he said the Gambia Government signed a Grant Agreement with the Islamic Development Bank for the financing of the Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Project Management (TACB) project. Mr. explained that IDB will contribute US$290,000 as Grant while the Gambia Government as counterpart contribution puts in US$17,000, totaling US$307,000.

According to him the objective of this project is to build the capacity of Ministries and Project Management Units to ensure timely delivery of IDB funded projects in the country. Still commenting on their projects, Mr Cham said his Agency has completed the implementation of the Agreement with GAMJOBS to execute the labour Intensive Technologies and Waste Management components of the Gambia Priority Employment Project (GAMJOBS). The agreement was signed on the 1st of September 2009 between them and United Nations and the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment. According to Mr. Cham 60 youths were trained and equipped, 40 were trained in the production and laying of concrete pavement blocks and 20 were trained in the collection and disposal of domestic waste. He said GAMWORKS also signed a contract with GAMTEL for the construction of the ACE Submarine Cable Station and Associated Facilities in February 2011. The cable is expected to provide high speed broadband internet services.

On their challenges he said, the main constraint facing them was the delays in payment of invoices by some sectors and non-receipt of Gambia Government counterpart agreement stipulated in loan agreements. He said the biggest challenge they are faced with is mobilization of resources to fund the operations of GAMWORKS as they do not receive any subventions from government budget and they rely on their management fees and project implementation.

The Chairman Board of Directors of GAMWAORKS, Almami Fanding Taal said Gamworks from its inception to date has implemented projects and contracts to the tune of over US$100 million. These he noted were done to the satisfaction of clients and beneficiaries.

Chairman Taal's statement was read by Mustapha Njie of the Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA). Further reading the chairman's statement, Mr. Njie explained that the Gambian Economy was affected by the severe crop failure last year caused by drought throughout the Sahel Sub-region. This, he went on resulted in the reduction of the Gambia real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 4% in 2011. He added that economic activity was slow at the beginning of 2012 but expecting the economy to improve in the final quarter of 2012 due to the expected bumper harvest and tourism sector growth.

On local construction, Mr. Njie said over the past 12 months, the cost of building materials remained relatively stable except for basalt which has nearly doubled in price and availability has at times been a problem. Mr Njie said despite that contract prices have been reliable during the period and GAMWORKS had no cause to terminate any contract.

Highlighting major developments for the period under review, Mr. Njie stated that the Gambia Government signed a Grant Agreement with the IDB for financing of the Technical Assistant Grant for Capacity Building in Project Management for a total project cost of US$307,000. The objective of the project he explained is to develop the capacity of project staff in Project Implementation Units of Ministries and other Agencies to ensure the timely delivery of IDB funded projects in the Gambia. He added that implementation on the Community-based Infrastructure and livelihood Improvement Project (CLIP) funded by Gambia Government and IDB to the tune of US$18.02 million is progressing satisfactory. He said the project was launched nationally in August 2011 and in each of the eight regions and municipalities. He said for the first time in the history of the Agency that they hold their Annual General Meeting at their own headquarters, describing it as a major achievement. He also described 2011 as a year of Board Governance and performance of its oversight functions and management's achievements in delivering successful completed projects and Delegated Management Contracts.

Statements of the Director and Chairman's report were adopted by members of GAMWORKS. The Auditor's report which was audited by AA and co and presented by Amadou Sanneh was also adopted.

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