By Bakary Ceesay
Gambia hosts Organisation Islamic Countries, OIC summit in 2022, National Assembly Members, yesterday approved $93 million dollars loan agreement with Saudi Arabia during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Banjul on 30th July, 2019.
Out of the total loan, $50 million is expected to be used for construction of roads within Greater Banjul Area and $10.5 million is expected to be used for the construction of a VIP lounge at the Banjul International Airport.
Part of the grant component of the loan, $22.5 million is expected to be invested in improving water and sanitation and $10 million dollars is for improvement of electricity supply within the Greater Banjul Area.
Manburay Njie, minister of Finance and Economic Affairs told parliamentarians that the loan has a 1% interest rate with 5 years grace period and payable in 30 years.
He explained that the Government of the Gambia would be upgrading and improving the overall infrastructure and social amenities which would lead to the successful hosting of the 2022 OIC summit in the Gambia.
Njie pointed out that these financings would provide the much-needed infrastructures relevant to the various sectors of the economy, which are no doubt very critical to the successful hosting of the 2022 OIC summit in the Gambia.
However, Hon. Halifa Sallah, a national assembly member for Serekunda has urged his colleagues to hand the agreement to the National Assembly Projects Monitoring Committee for proper scrutiny before approval.
Sallah said the finance minister has failed to furnish lawmakers with adequate information required for them to properly scrutinize the bill. He expressed concern over the unsustainable public debt of the country.
Hon. Sidia Jatta, member for Wuli West lamented that Gambia’s public debt is over a billion dollars, something which should be properly managed.
“The OIC cannot be as urgent as the condition of my people some of whom do not even have roofs over their heads,” said Jatta. Jatta’s constituency has been ravaged by windstorm killing 3 and injuring dozens. He said the support needed for those people is not solved by the Government.