By Foday Manneh
Following a disclosure made by the Vice Chairman of the Basse Area Council (BSAC), the council is reported to be facing enormous financial challenges, which currently affect the implementation of some of the council’s proposed projects for 2022.
This was disclosed by the vice-chairman of the BSAC, and has now been confirmed by the Chairman of the council, Foday Danjo, in an interview with The Alkamba Times (TAT).
Danjo spoke of their current predicament and blames the hijacking on their responsibility to allocate canteens at the new Basse market.
The mandate of the BSAC to allocate canteens was ignored by President Adama Barrow, who allegedly gave this responsibility to the Governor of the region.
It happened after the opening of the newly-constructed market after it was razed to the ground by fire, and the central government helped to rebuild it by reportedly investing D100 million in the reconstruction project.
‘’It is a financial challenge for us and the cause is this seizure of the market from us and giving authority to the Governor of the region to allocate the canteens to beneficiaries.
“We had planned to allocate the canteens in February 2022 and start the collection of revenue.
“The shopkeepers of all the 245 shops will pay a three-month advance which would have been a huge income for the council.
“This collected money can be used to work on some of our intended projects, and also complement the 2022 budget. But, unfortunately, the President hijacked that responsibility from us and gave it to the Governor which now affects us bitterly.
‘’Secondly, taxes are not being paid as expected, coupled with the government’s failure to give council its subvention, as required by law, and we all know the current global crisis regarding inflation,’’ Danjo added.
In January 2022, TAT reported that Basse Area Council had to cancel the D18 million Basse-Manneh Kunda road project, due to financial constraints, which was dismissed as false in a press release from the Council.
However, when asked about the impact of this current reality on the council’s projects, Chairman Danjo said: ‘’The initial cost for the Basse-Manneh Kunda road project was D18 million, but due to circumstances beyond our control we could not implement it last year.
“This year we went back to the contractors and there is an increase in cost to about D35 million and, as of now, we cannot give D35M out of our 2022 budget of D40.8 million. We cannot work on that road project anytime soon.
“On the Basse-Manneh Kunda road, we are now looking for a partnership with any company that can pre-finance and does the work; then we can discuss a payment plan and pay in installments.”
Danjo continued: “We also intended to dig another seven boreholes for seven communities this year, but the financial challenge remains an issue.”