By: Foday Manneh
The youths in the Upper River Region have raised concerns over the Local Organising Committee (LOC) budget ahead of the National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) 2022.
This comes following an announcement by the Basse Area Council (BSAC) that they are committed to funding the purchase of 200 tracksuits for regional delegates, which amounted to over half a million Dalasis.
A commitment letter from the Council stated that the management of BSAC would pay for the tracksuits for the URR NAYCONF delegates amounting to D635,000.00.
According to the BSAC letter, the payment of the tracksuits to the supplier would be made in installments from November to January 2023.
However, several young people of the region took to social media to criticize and challenge the Council and LOC for what they called “an over-budgeting”, particularly of the allocated amount for tracksuits.
Others questioned the Council’s procurement process and LOC in awarding the contract for the purchase.
The Public Relations Officer of the BSAC, Omar Drammeh, told TAT that the entire bidding process was done by LOC – except the supplier award.
“We received invoices from the LOC, who did all required procedures and presented them to us (Council). The Council chose the best supplier based on the payment method that fits us and will pay the money to the supplier’s account,” Drammeh said.
The Regional Youth and Sports Coordinator of URR, who doubles as a member of the LOC, Musa Jarra, said no bidding was done to award the contract to the suppliers.
“The Council itself went out to find suppliers, but this supplier in question is supplying lesser than we presented, and it’s the same they are supplying to other regions. So, as we need quality, we deemed it fitting,” Jarra.
“I have all three invoices submitted to the Council, and we realized that one was considered by the Council. So everyone in the Committee is aware of this,” he explained.
When contacted, the Governor of URR, as the Chairperson of the LOC, Samba Bah, denied being aware of this process.
“I heard it on a WhatsApp page, and I made findings through Musa Jarra, and he told me that the Council wanted to handle the purchase of the tracksuits. So I asked him whether they were paying the money into the LOC account or not?” But his response was No!” Bah Explained.
The Chairperson said there needed to be more discussion at the LOC level to agree on purchasing the tracksuits. He was unaware of any bidding or advertisement for the bids process.
“As far as the LOC is concerned, we are not part of it. The Council can go and purchase the items at their own level and give them to us, and we will take them. But if they are not doing that, then the Committee has to be involved in the buying process,” he stressed.