By: Momodou Faal
The Lands and Regional Government minister has cautioned local government authorities to be mindful of land allocations, especially to people who initially seek them for agricultural development purposes, but later use them for other causes.
Speaking at the end of a three-day first ever retreat by his Ministry, Momodou Kolley observed that most of the time, individuals and NGOs are given the land, but instead they divert it to a totally different purpose, using it for what it wasn’t initially meant for.
The minister also disclosed plans by the Ministry to introduce standard stamps for use by village heads, saying this would soon materialise if everything goes as planned.
The Lands minister also challenged local government authorities to be more focused on their work, improve the performance of the various sectors under their departments and identify gaps and solutions for the problems confronting them.
Minister Kolley assured that the information gathered at the retreat will be fully synchronised for coherent, viable work and action plans. Such information, he added, will put the Ministry and its line institutions on a proper trajectory for the realisation of its strategic plan in line with the ideals of Vision 2020 and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).
The minister stressed that the end of the retreat should mark the beginning of more robust initiatives and actions in properly shaping and directing the state of affairs of the respective institutions within the Ministry. The ultimate success of the forum, he opined, will be determined and measured by the results achieved. Kolley also warned that standards will not be compromised at all levels in terms of service delivery, urging the officials to be committed to the cause.
The Lands minister also spoke of his commitment to prioritise capacity building of staff and governance in a bid to consolidate the gains registered. He however stressed the need for attitudinal change with corresponding shift in paradigm for the realisation of the national development goals and objectives.
Kolley also disclosed plans by the Ministry to stage a National Local Government Conference that will create the platform for all the key stakeholders in local governance to meet and discuss issues relevant to national development. He concluded by thanking the sectors for their “sound” presentations and deliberation during the retreat.