At least US$60,000 (D2.5 million) is being coughed by the Gambia a month to pay the hotel bills of President Adama Barrow at the Kairaba Hotel, angering Gambians, a majority of whom live on less than a dollar a day.
Barrow succeeded former President Yahya Jammeh last month, who has been accused of leaving the national treasury empty. Jammeh is accused of wasteful spending by citizens.
The UN and the Gambia’s government appealed for emergency financial aid. Barrow last week told a UN Commissioner that he has inherited a bankrupt nation and called for budgetary aid.
According to the invoice covering between 30th January and 3rd February, the cost of running the Gambia’s new presidency at the Kairaba Hotel has cost the tax payers D563,750.00.
Between the above period, records show that D15,000 was spent on mineral water and D125,000 on breakfast including coffee, tea, juice, hot snacks and sandwiches.
D148,750 was also spent to feed the president and 34 other people. D850 was paid for each individual for every lunch which included a selection of hot food including fish, meat or chicken courses, pasta station, assorted vegetables, rice, potatoes and fruits.
The Office of the President also paid D175,000 to use the hotel’s main conference room, Jama Hall, while D100,000 was paid for using communication rooms 2, 4, 5 and 6.
The hotel did not charge for breakfast and dinner for the president’s security team and for the use of three offices by the Vice President and two others.
President Barrow had been using the Kairaba Hotel as his office since his election victory in December. He was holed up in Senegal’s capital Dakar over security concerns.
ECOMIG troops securing Mr. Barrow dispelled reports that toxic chemicals were found in the air conditioning unit of the presidential compound, which is now under renovation.
There is no timeline for when the State House will be ready for Barrow to be moved in but the increasing cost of using Kairaba is already brewing criticism from Gambians.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting from Jollof News and Freedom Newspaper; Editing by Sainey MK Marenah)