Gambia: Public Outcry As Lawmakers Approve D54 Million Housing Loans

30 November 2020

With less than two years before their terms of office expired, Gambians lawmakers last Thursday approved a staggering amount of D54, 000, 000 loans scheme designed to help them build their houses that were given to them by the government.

However, there has been a public outcry as many Gambians described the incident as "self-interest."

At least a total number of 16 National Assembly Members (NAMs) voted against a loan scheme which was moved by nominated member Ya Kumba Jaiteh, while 17 other parliamentarians voted in favour of the loan scheme.

Meanwhile, some NAMs decided to walk out of the Assembly Chambers while others were absent.

In moving motion, Ya Kumba argued that it is in the constitution that NAMs can decide their salaries, benefits and allowances. She went on to state that it is a "benefit that we're trying to get here. This is law, we are making law here, we can make it now and it becomes law."

Her proposal was initially supported by 25 members and 7 others were opposed to it.

On Friday Halifa Sallah came up with a motion for the Assembly to rescind its decision on Yakumba's proposal, arguing that it's not in line with the constitution, Public Finance Act, and relevant Standing Orders of the Assembly.

Hon. Sillah argued that section 29 of the standing orders provides for the possibility of rescinding decisions made by the National Assembly.

"Under the standing order 29(3), it says that it shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question, upon which the Assembly has taken a decision, except a motion to rescind that decision to which notice must be given.

"Hon. Speaker, because of the urgency of the motion that's why I've requested for you to give me leaves to make the motion. We are dealing with the most important document in this country. This deals with the estimates of revenue and expenditure of the country."

According to him, Section 112 of the Constitution, states categorically that National Assembly members must defend the integrity of the National Assembly and must at all time, ensure that what "we do defend the national interest."

Hon. Sallah's arguments were seconded by Hon. Alhagie Mboow.

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