Panafrican News Agency

Coronavirus: Gambian Lawmakers approve US$ 289,463.52 bailout fund for media

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Gambian awmakers have unanimously approved the payment of 15 million Dalasis (US$ 289,463.52) as bailout funds for media houses in the country amid Coronavirus impact.

The supplementary appropriation bill, approved, is an emergency fund that seeks to help combat Covid-19 and other emergency issues in the country, PANA reported on Friday.

Moving a motion during the debate, Serrekunda West lawmaker, Madi Ceesay, said: “If you look at all our budget line subvention submission bill there is nothing for the media. I am suggesting at least 50 million Dalasis for all the media houses.”

“Even our sub-regional neighbours, Senegal and Guinea Bissau, have given huge amount of money to their media houses, empowered them to do their jobs because we need awareness and is only the media that can play that key role,” said the Serrekunda MP, who is also the publisher of the privately-owned, three-times a week newspaper.

According to him, "if they want their message to go beyond this house and also to contain Covid-19, this is what they should do for media houses. He added that many lawmakers have participated in radio programs to sensitize the public 'so why can't we empower the media'.”

In his respond, Mambureh Njie, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, said: “I think the request for media houses is important as they are doing a fantastic job. They are not charity organizations but we will see if there is anything that we can do just to include an amount for media houses.”

He added: “I will recommend for media to be given a package and this will be allocated directly to the Ministry of Information to do the sharing. The amount will be D15 million.”

-0- PANA MSS/VAO 24July2020