By: Musa Ndow
The vice president and Women’s Affairs minister has told the nine newly sworn-in senior government officials that the president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh, is interested in having a very motivated team of civil servants, urging them to deliver the goods as required. The president, she noted, has done a lot to ensure that they have the enabling environment to do their job and perform their duties, citing some schemes created in the civil service sector to motivate personnel.
Her Excellency Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy was speaking Monday while presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of the secretary to Cabinet, Abdoulie Sallah and eight permanent secretaries from various ministries.
The permanent secretaries, who took the three oaths of office, secrecy and allegiance are: Abdoulie Camara, Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure; Isatou Auber, Office of the President; Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology; Mod K. Ceesay, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs; Ada Gaye, Ministry of Agriculture; Abdoulie Jallow, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs; Nancy Niang, Ministry of Information, Communication, Infrastructure; and Dr. Mackie Taal, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
In her remarks, VP Njie-Saidy urged the senior officials to be focused and continue to do their job correctly, calling on them to consult each other as well as with the public. This, she stressed, is critical given that in implementing some of the policies and programmes, they need to consult the public.
“Once you continue to do that I can assure you that we will be able to deliver the goods as required of the Gambian people. Together with support from staff under you, you are expected to deliver the goods as required of the Gambian people as they relate to your specialised sectors. So expectations are high on you,” she stated.
The VP concluded by seeking for more prayers for the leadership and the people of The Gambia.
Taking turns to address the gathering, the secretary general, head of the Civil Service and minister of Presidential and Civil Service Affairs, Momodou Sabally, reminded the newly sworn-in officials of the huge responsibilities that lie ahead.
“They are demanding and challenging but the fact that you were chosen among the many, says a lot about the fact that the president and the entire government have a lot of confidence and trust in you. So this means a lot is expected of you. You have responsibilities that come with privileges, but there are times when you have to take tough decisions in the interest of the country. Looking at the bigger picture, those decisions have to be taken,” he told them.
The Civil Service boss used the opportunity to stress the need to protect government information, which he argued, should be on a “need-to-know basis”. Sabally also assured the perm sects of continued support and guidance at all times, while indicating plans to measure performance in the civil service. “We will bring in a mechanism to recognise and reward the key performers not only at your level but also the staff that would be needed to help you achieve results that we expected,” he disclosed.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, PS Abdoulie Camara expressed their profound appreciation and gratitude to the president for the opportunity to serve the country.
While acknowledging that the responsibility entrusted on them is enormous, he assured of their commitment, allegiance and steadfastness to serve and contribute their quota to the realisation of the vision of the leadership in line with the objectives of the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE). “We thank you profoundly and pray for Allah’s guidance in all of your endeavours,” he prayed for the president.
Seasoned technocrat, Abdoulie M. Sallah, who spoke at the occasion, also thanked the Gambian leader for re-engaging him in the government. Sallah used the opportunity to highlight the long list of numerous development initiatives achieved by the government under the leadership of President Jammeh.
“A lot has been done from 1994 to date,” he said, citing the Banjul International Airport terminal building, University of The Gambia, the North Bank road among others as some of the major infrastructural developments brought about by the Jammeh Administration.
The minister of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration, Abdou Kolley, told the permanent secretaries that they are key players in the delivery of government programmes. “You are chief legal advisers to ministers, and in delivery of that work, we expect you to be professional, to be honest and to be dedicated in that work,” he admonished.