By: Foday Manneh
The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA) has successfully mediated between the Basse Area Council (BSAC) and the Office of the Governor of the Upper River Region in the matter of the allocation of canteens at the new Basse Market.
The market which was ravaged by an inferno in February 2020 was reconstructed by the central government which invested D100 million, and inaugurated in February 2022 by President Adama Barrow.
Barrow speaking at the inauguration ceremony, reportedly announced that URR Governor Samba Bah will take responsibility for the allocation of the market canteens, which is the mandate of the area council.
It would be recalled that BSAC Chairman Foday Danjo told TAT recently that the council is facing huge financial challenges, which are affecting the implementation of planned development projects, and cited the loss of revenue from the canteens as a major cause.
Following this announcement, GALGA in March 2022 held a press conference and urged the President to return the market to the BSAC and not to interfere in local government matters.
GALGA is now reported to be mediating in talks between the two URR regional authorities, which have reportedly now agreed that both the BSAC and Governor will be responsible for the allocation of the canteens.
The Governor’s office in collaboration and the Council will be responsible for the allocation of canteens with priority given first to the victims of the inferno, 60 percent of whom are Gambians.
Then the remaining 71 out 245 shops will be independently allocated by the Council to new vendors without the involvement of the Governor, according to the BSAC Public Relations Officer, Omar Drammeh.
Drammeh said the council had voted for the mediation of GALGA officials, and both the Council and Governor’s office had agreed to cooperate with GALGA.