Lawmakers Wednesday retreated at a local hotel in Kololi ahead of the commencement of the next sessions of the Public Accounts and Enterprises Committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly; a legislative exercise that scrutinises public finance management and activities of the various public institutions and agencies.
The PAC/PEC members and other stakeholders met under the theme "Enhancing public financial management through effective parliamentary oversight".
The PAC/PEC of the National Assembly has over the years successively conducted and performed lawful oversight over all public services, interests, institutions, agencies and policy programmes of the executive. The statutory function continues to shape, regulate and strengthen the nation's resolve to overcome the ever growing challenges in deepening the strategies employed to strengthen public financial management (PFM).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day retreat of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly the speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang said this year's retreat like the previous ones is in preparation for the forthcoming PAC/PEC session which is scheduled for the month of September.
He stated that the government of The Gambia continues to licence, sanction and provide much needed resources for them to convene and deliberate with political goodwill without executive interference. He noted that it is therefore no accident that Gambian peoples' high expectations from them are well founded and not misplaced.
Honourable Abdoulie Bojang registered their appreciation to the government and its development partners for their support to the legislature. He further acknowledged that the government has created the enabling legal environment with a clearly defined mandate for them as elective representatives of the people to perform lawful and routine oversight over the executive, public enterprises/agencies, public services and anything of public interest.
"It is only prudent that as a responsible and responsive parliament and by extension having a responsible and responsive government under the able leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Nasirul Deen Babili Mansa not to be complacent with our achievements so far but to strive and resolve to do even better," he stressed.
"It is against this backdrop that we are now subjecting ourselves to behind closed-door internal scrutiny of our collective conduct and attitude, actions, omissions, challenges and constraints of the very members of PAC/PEC".
The clerk of the Assembly, Dodou C.M. Kebbeh, commented on the strength and potentials of the scrutiny committees, informing that PAC/PEC reports are impacting positively on public policy. He observed that public morale and confidence in governance is on the increase.
"Public interest on PAC/PEC deliberation is ever increasing. There is always a wide media coverage and interest in PAC/PEC Sessions. There is great potential for PAC/PEC in The Gambia. Our scope and mandate covers everything of public interest, or anything funded wholly or partly from public funds," he asserted.
The deputy clerk, Legislative Business, Projects & Programmes, Daniel Cardos, said the objective of the PAC/PEC retreat was to provide a platform that ensures a holistic review of PAC/PEC policies, systems and processes that enhance public finance manangement and effective parliamentary oversight; as well as provide hands-on analytical management skills and tools for resource control.
He noted that the outcome of the PAC/PEC ensures a comprehensive platform that resolves PAC/PEC's desire to design effective monitoring and evaluation dynamics for improved performances of public enterprises in public service.
"PAC/PEC exhibits a credible balance in reviewing the mandate and governance structure of PEs relevant to parliamentary oversight," he concluded.