Hon. Halifa Sallah, MP for Serrekunda has called for the “elimination” of the First Lady`s office, which is allocated three hundred and thirty thousand, eight hundred and fifty-five dalasis in the 2018 National Budget.
In his intervention speech at the National Assembly chambers, Sallah said: “We are not condemning anybody.” And, added that “all the wives of the presidents are respectable people and should not be a subject of discussion.”
According to Sallah allocating them a portion of taxpayers’ money from the National budget, made them a subject of discussion.”
He sought clarification on the existence of the First Lady`s Office and argued that throughout the world including Africa, “no one has ever talked about the office of the first husband”, citing Margaret Thatcher the late British Prime Minister as an example and pointed out that those who are gender sensitive are still not taking it up.
He said family relation is personal and not state or republic matters and that family members should not be a subject of discussion or scrutiny, but by including them in the national budget, it will make them subject of scrutiny.
He insists that if there is to be a new start, the Office of the First Lady must be eliminated, which should not be part of parliamentary debates. He said “a republic does not recognize anybody who is not elected or appointed for a post in the public service.”
In addition to his intervention, Sallah said: “Looking at what is before us, we have made adjustment to be able to deal with the current realities of the country; that the adjustment they we are making should enable us to move into the future so that we will not be depending on external budget support and not depending entirely on the project grants.”
He recommended that before the end of 2018, public enterprises should provide their budget, audited accounts in full, so that the National Assembly will be able to determine their profits and losses.