STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ADAMA BARROW, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE HEADQUATERS OF THE NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE
VENUE: KANIFING INSTITUTIONAL AREA BERTING HARDING HIGHWAY
DATE: 26TH FEBRUARY 2019
Your Excellency, Vice President
Your Lordship, Chief Justice
Secretary General and Head of Civil Service
Members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations
Mayors, Traditional and Religious Leaders,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
We are here today to officially open the new headquarters of the National Audit Office (NAO). This development is prompted by the realisation that, to be effective and efficient, public institutions and the personnel that serve in them must operate in environments that allow for maximum performance and productivity.
Consequently, as we reform our institutions, we must transform their physical structures and appearance correspondingly.
Evidence suggests that productivity at work is influenced by such factors as the quality of the personnel available, their job satisfaction, the work ethics that bind them and the context in which they operate. This indicates that both ‘worker and work environment’ contribute to performance and output. Therefore, we cannot succeed in The Gambia without the right type of personnel, the right type of institutions and the right type of physical structures and environment.
As a pillar of my Government’s development agenda, good governance needs to be appreciated from a perspective that encompasses all the critical factors that contribute to performance, production and productivity. We recognise the work environment as one of these factors.
The National Development Plan (NDP) portrays the emphasis my Government places on providing suitable sector policies. On the other hand, we know that policies need to be formulated and implemented in an atmosphere that is friendly enough to increase or enhance staff motivation and output. I believe strongly that the attitude and commitment of individuals in public institutions contribute to determining how taxpayers benefit from the services delivered by public servants.
The construction of this new building falls neatly within the framework of responding adequately to all these requirements for the personnel of the NAO to function amicably and effectively.
Wholly funded by The Government of The Gambia at a total cost of over eighty-two million, eight hundred and sixty-three thousand Dalasi (D82,863.00), the edifice has been built to create conducive and adequate space for the staff to work professionally and in confidence.
In view of the high level of public expectations cast on Government, the National Audit Office has a crucial role to play in our institutional reform programme, which is a catalyst for nation building. The Office is entrusted with the responsibility of auditing accounts of all government institutions, Local Government Authorities and other public bodies.
Furthermore, it carries public trust to facilitate accountability of the Executive to the Legislature. In other words, the NAO has the special role of enhancing proper financial management and governance for the realization of the NDP goals.
Mindful of these responsibilities, my Government is determined to strengthen the National Audit Office to foster efficiency and effectiveness in public administration. This is a fundamental feature in any democratic system that seeks to promote accountability and good governance, and it serves to protect and maintain the integrity of Government and the public sector. It is through such checks and balances that we can deliver public service for public satisfaction.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am informed that the NAO has made significant progress in clearing the backlog of unaudited government financial statements over the years. I am greatly encouraged that the staff is also poised to end all backlogs early this year.
It is with optimism, therefore, that the new office environment in this magnificent building will further motivate the staff to prepare and table up-to-date annual reports in line with international best practice. This calls for devising strategies to engage key stakeholders for audit exercises that would impact better on the lives of the Gambian citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, before concluding, I must commend the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government for their respective roles of providing the funds for the project and allocating the land on which this beautiful structure now stands. I must add that the staff now has the big responsibility of maintaining the structure. Regular maintenance should keep it in good shape for decades to come.
For this achievement, my profound gratitude goes to the consultant and the contractor, Master Plan and Swami India International, respectively, for their professionalism and for the successful completion of the project.
On a similar note, I commend the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure for the technical advice and support they provided throughout the entire process.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I now declare the new headquarters of the National Audit Office officially open.
Long live the Republic of The Gambia!
I thank you all for your kind attention.