The director general of the Gambia Agency for the Management of Public Works (Gamworks) has told the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly that the Agency received inflows of funds totaling D211million in 2011.
Ebrima Cham made this revelation on Monday while presenting the annual activity report and audited financial statements by the Agency for the year ended 31st December 2011 at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul.
He said out of this amount, payments to contractors totaled D158 million; D4 million was paid to consultants and D3 million was paid to other service providers.
He intimated that the year under review was a good one for Gamworks, with a number of projects and contracts delivered to the satisfaction of their clients and beneficiaries. He added that two projects and thirteen Delegated Management Contracts (DMCs) were under implementation in the Agency over the last 12 months.
"Gamworks intervention can be classified into two categories. In the first category whole projects in their entirety are implemented by the Agency on behalf of the government of The Gambia and our development partners. In the second category, Gamworks acts as a Delegated Management Contractor and implements components of projects, notably in the area of civil works and infrastructure, on behalf of the sectors," Cham explained.
Dilating on the projects being implemented, he informed the Committee that the government of The Gambia has received financing in the form of US$15.86 million loan and a Technical Assistant Grant of US$400, 000 from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) towards the cost of the Community-based Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project (CILIP).
The Gamworks DG added: "Additional financing is provided by way of counterpart contributions by the government of The Gambia (US$880, 000), local councils and sub-project beneficiaries (US$880, 000) to give a total project cost of US$18.02 million."
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, noting that the executing agency for the project is the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, while Gamworks is the Project Management Unit. He also told the Committee that significant progress has been made on the CILIP project.
Cham further revealed that the government of The Gambia had also signed a Grant Agreement with the IDB for the financing of the Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Project Management (TACB) Project. He said IDB will contribute US$290, 000 as grant while the Gambia government will put in counterpart contribution of US$17, 000 to give a total project cost of US$307, 000.
He told the Committee that the objective of the TACB project is to build the capacity of ministries and project management units, so as to ensure the timely delivery of IDB funded projects in The Gambia. He added that the Project is to be implemented by Gamworks on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
Cham also informed the Committee that the Agency has signed many multi-million contracts under the Delegated Management Contracts (DMCs). Among them, he went on, are: the Labour Intensive Technologies and Waste Management (GoTG/UNDP, D8.971million); Construction of Technical & Vocational Education Centre in Ndemban, West Coast Region (Taiwan ICDF, US$2.83million); Rehabilitation of Warehouses in Banjul (GoTG, D10.5million); the rehabilitation of the Office of The Ombudsman, Cape Point (GoTG, D2.04million); the construction of Military Outposts (GoTG, D64million); and the Construction of the ACE Submarine Cable Station and Associated facilities (Gamtel, D53million).
His words: "There is always likely to be constraints and risks due to the nature of the operations of Gamworks. The challenge is for management to manage the constraints and minimise risk to the Agency's operations."
The Gamworks DG said the main constraints during the year under review, were the significant delays in payment of invoices by some of the sectors and non-receipt of Gambia Government counterpart contribution stipulated in loan agreements.
"As the Agency does not receive any direct subvention from the Government Budget, Gamworks relies entirely on management fees and project implementation support to sustain the operations of the Agency. The biggest challenge faced by management continues to be mobilisation of resources to fund the operations of Gamworks," he added.
Cham told the Committee that management of Gamworks is continuously making efforts to bring in new projects and contracts into the Agency. He said the Agency will continue to engage the sectors and public institutions in new project and contracts, and will continue to intensify resource mobilisation efforts in the form of new projects and DMCs.
Sarjo Jah, the director of Finance and Administration at Gamworks, said that the Agency's total income in 2011 was D26, 197, 721 million compared to D22, 481, 214 million in 2010. He revealed that the total expenditure in 2011 was D25, 636, 349 million, giving them a surplus of D561, 372, compared to the 2010 expenditure of D22, 269, 711million, with a surplus of D211, 503.
Speaking earlier, Almamy Fanding Taal, the chairman of the Board of Gamworks, said as a board they were extremely satisfied with the operations of Gamworks, adding that the management has been transparent and accountable.
Samba J.B Tambura, a compliance officer at the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said the procurement transactions of Gamworks have not been reviewed by GPPA over the period. "As a result, the Authority does not have any issue relating to Gamworks procurement to report on during the period under consideration," he added.
PAC/PEC members and subject matter specialists then raised questions, concerns, comments, recommendations, observations, and suggestions, which were responded to by Gamworks officials before the report was finally adopted.