WEEKLY INTER-MINISTERIAL PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION: 5th SESSION HELD ONLINE, 4th SEPTEMBER 2020
Welcome to the 5th session of the Inter-Ministerial Press Conference coordinated by Ministry of Information & Communication Infrastructure (MOICI).
Due to the surge in COVID-19 figures in the county, the Ministry has taken measures to ensure safety of journalists by conducting the briefing in a virtual format.
Office of the Vice President:
The Government of The Gambia has officially launched a 31 Million Dollar project setup to help vulnerable rural households. Eighty three thousand (83 000) rural households will receive direct cash transfers under this scheme. The initiative which is in phases, will support households in Central River Region, Upper River Region, Lower River Region the Fonis in West Coast Region and Sabach Sanjal in the North Bank Region. Households in the Fonis have already received the first part of their cash transfer support. This initiative which is supported by the World Bank, is being implemented by government agencies under the direct coordination of the Office of the Vice President.
The cash support initiative intents to contribute to the mitigation of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable households in The Gambia by increasing short-term consumption of essential goods and services of the target families, and enabling longer-term investments in human and productive capital. This initiative is Gambia Government’s direct response towards the goal of increasing social assistance coverage of the extreme poor in the country.
Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment: –
The European Union and the International Trade Center through Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) under the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, recently handed over tricycles, E-bikes and bicycles to young Gambian entrepreneurs.
The aim of the project is to create employment opportunities for youth and women and, most importantly, facilitate the transportation of goods in the economy during and after Covid-19.
The support is in line with the policy of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment to promote trade and industrial development in key sectors of the economy to spur the needed growth sufficient to impact on unemployment and poverty in the short and medium term.
Ministry of Health and Social welfare – Update on Covid-19:
The Ministry of Health and its partners are working together to open more COVID-19 treatment Centres across the Country. The Ministry is currently using some hotels as treatment/isolation Centres in addition to the Sanatorium and MRC treatment Centres.
Expansion and refurbishment of Ndemban treatment Centre is in progress, and the WHO and UNOPS have already started working on the construction of temporal treatment centres at Essau, Jarra Soma and Bansang which are expected to be handed over on the 09th October 2020.
The Ministry of Health has also developed a strategy where each COVID-19 positive individual is assigned to a doctor who will be calling him or her on a daily basis to monitor the patient in home isolation. This has already started and the general public is hereby urged to cooperate with the doctors to make the process a success. Plans are also on the way to put in place to start the construction of an Infectious Disease Centre which would be a state-of-the-Art hospital funded by World Bank.
In the area of sensitization and raising community awareness about CPVID-19, the Ministry of Health has now strengthened partnership with District Chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, key influencers and traditional communicators to communicate clear, consistent and reliable COVID-19 messages to promote positive behavioral change and dispel rumors and misinformation.
As part of efforts to ensure that more people are tested, the Ministry of Health has also setup new centres within the Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region for COVID-19 sample collections. Henceforth, anyone who wants to do a COVID-19 test could have their sample collected from the following sample collection points:
• Independence Stadium in Bakau, KMC (sample collected started and ongoing);
• Buffer Zone in Latrikunda, KMC (sample collected started and ongoing);
• Brusubi Main Roundabout, WCR, adjacent to the Petroleum Building (sample collected started and ongoing)
• Brikama, WCR, behind Mbalet Junction where sample collection will start on Monday, 7th September 2020.
Samples will be collected from these sites only on week days, Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 3:00pm each day.
The public is reminded that while at the sample collection sites, they should strictly adhere to COVID-19 prevention and Control measures including use of facemask, physical distancing and hand washing/sanitising. For more information, call COVID-19 helpline 1025
Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure: – NRA – Road Maintenance as at August 2020
The National Road Authority (NRA) has embarked on a series of major road maintenances in the Greater Banjul Area as part of efforts to ensure road safety. The maintenance works are currently ongoing on the following roads:
• Kololi – Gamtel Road
• Dankung Street (Bakau)
• Julbrew Road in Kanifing
• Brusubi Phase II Road
• Kanifing Estate Access Road
Works are ongoing on all the roads except Bakau and Julbrew which will commence immediately when the rains subside. The aim of these works is to improve the urban circulation, to provide alternative routes for road users, and to minimize the congestion on the highways. The initiative also attempts to support the proposed OIC road projects.
The activities include emergency works to repair flood damages and washouts that result in the road being cut or made impassable. Such emergency maintenance works mostly occur in the North Bank Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region where most of the runoff water comes from Senegal. Currently, the National Road Authority is repairing the eroded road side slope in Kumbija, in the U.R.R. Repair works are also progressing smoothly on the recently cut section on the Essau – Kerewan highway at Daru Foday Ba village (N.B.R).
Other emergency works are also currently on-going in Kumbija Village (URR), to repair the approaches to a recently constructed culvert that were severely damaged as a result of the heavy rains.
Due to their urgent need for maintenance, some roads are earmarked for 2020/2021 financial year. Some sections of the Soma-Basse Highway are already showing very serious depressions especially in villages of Bamba Kolong and Kudang as a result of heavy loading and would need to be repaired to address the safety concerns when driving on this very important road. The Allunhari Bridge, Old Cape road bridge, Kotu bridge, Sections of Kombo Coastal Highway, Soma – Sankwia road, Pakilinding – Mansakonko road, Farato – Jambur road, Kerewan – Njwara road are among the key roads and bridges identified for periodic maintenance this year.
Ministry of defense
A new batch of Gambia Armed Forces peacekeeping contingent (GAMCOY 23) has left for Darfur, in Sudan on the 2nd of September 2020. The troops forming this deploying contingent underwent a month long Pre-Deployment Training in Battle Lessons, Battle Exercises, Rules of Engagement, Human Rights, Cultural Diversity, Convoy Operations, Anti Ambush Drills, Searches, and Public Order Operations amongst others.
GAMCOY 23 consists of 132 personnel of all ranks and is led by Lieutenant Colonel Ebrima Krubally who was until now, Commanding Officer of 4 Infantry Battalion in Kanilai. He will be assisted by Major Abdou Jatta as his Second in Command. The contingent consists of 13 officers, 119 other ranks and 11 female soldiers.