Assembly ratifies agreement for major bridge construction
Thursday, June 28, 2012
National Assembly members Wednesday considered and ratified the Protocol Agreement between the Republic of The Gambia and the African Development Fund (Trans-Gambia Corridor Project) for the construction of the Yelli Tenda-Bamba Tenda bridge to the tune of GMD2, 909.80 billion.
It would be
recalled that the government of The Gambia recently signed an agreement with
The African Development Bank (AfDB) for the financing of the multinational
TransGambia Bridge and Cross Border Improvement Project to the tune of UA63.55
million [equivalent to US$96.20 million or GMD2, 909. 80billion].
Laying the motion before deputies, Abdou Kolley, the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs described the signing of the financing agreement as a joyous and historic occasion bearing in mind that the construction of a trans-Gambia bridge has been talked about for more than three decades now.
He said: “The construction of this bridge will undoubtedly enhance regional trade through opening up an important historical trading route in the Sahel as well as bring to fruition the dream of the West African Highway and in particular realisation of smooth movement of goods and persons between The Gambia and Senegal.”
He pointed out that the conceived bridge could potentially reduce transport cost and time and customs administrative formalitiesat the borders, and enhance the potential for trade, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and socio-economic empowerment of communities on the corridors and the Ecowas community as a whole.
The main components identified in The Gambia, Minister Kolley informed deputies, will include the construction of the Trans-Gambia Bridge, access roads and Toll/Weight Facilities, and transportation facilitation measures including construction of One Stop Border post, amongst others.
Ownership and Management
Even though financed from the Regional Window of the African Development Bank, Minster Kolley said the bridge will be wholly owned and managed by Gambian authorities. “The government has however negotiated and agreed with the Senegalese government a memorandum of understanding (awaiting signature) not only to facilitate usage by the latter of the bridge, but also opening up other routes between the two countries that are of strategic interest to The Gambia,” he added.
Seconding the motion, Hon. Lamin K.T Jammeh, NAM for Illiasa said it is a good move and came at the right time, noting that it will bring lot of benefits for both countries and the region at large. He further noted that it will enhance free movement of goods, services and people, while reducing transport costs, time and customs formalities.
For his part, Hon. Seedy S.K Njie, a nominated member commended the government for what he described as a laudable and timely development. He said bridging the TransGambia river crossing point has been a topic of discussion for over a decade now with lots of comments and opinions from both Gambians and non-Gambians, particularly with regard to the ownership and management of the bridge. “The bridge when completed will further help in addressing unexpected delay and will also enhance the free movement of goods, services and people as stipulated in Ecowas Protocols,” he further stated.
Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Majority leader and NAM for Serrekunda East said The Gambia has never failed its obligation in ensuring regional integration. He therefore thanked the government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for the good work.
Others who contributed to the approval of the motion included Hon. Bintanding Jarju, NAM for Foni Brefet; Hon. Buba A. Bojang, NAM for Foni Kansala; Hon. Abdoulie Kanaji Jawla, NAM for Sandu; Hon. Abdou Colley, NAM for Kombo South; Hon. Mam Cherno Jallow, NAM for Upper Niumi and Hon. Lamin Jadama, NAM for Niamina West.
Author: Alieu Ceesay & Aji Fatou Faal