Mr. Editor permit me to respond to Pa Njie Girigara in his article titled- The Barrow government should free Gamtel/Gamcel to compete effectively.
I am a keen reader of your impartial online paper which has drawn admiration from all concern and developmental oriented Gambians and whose contribution to a democratic Gambia is unequivocal , thanks to Mr. Pa Nderry Mbye.
First Pa Njie Girigara has not applied the principles of impartiality in informing his readers what his interest whatever it is in making a point seems to have hidden agenda but that is not important right now. He claimed to advocate for the opening of the Telecommunication sector to the Private sector back in 1996 in Jammeh era well before Africell, Commium and QCell as he put it Let me correct him there, The Gambia has never in its point in History became a Communist state or advocated for one where the means of production and consumable goods are directed by the state but rather free market economy where there is no state monopoly and the prices of basic community are regulated by the market forces of demand and supply. Thus his claim to advocate for the opening of Telecommunication to private sector much to be desired for. There are lots of questions in this line of thinking many people would asking regarding his influence over Jammeh area only to demonize his former master, perhaps for a morsel of bread and a cup of cold water. The saying goes through he who dined and wined with me has lifted his hand against me(his former Master dictator Jammeh) and thus trying to switch sides in the Barrow led government. But that is not a surprise as we have seen a lot of Political Prostitution in Democratic states but let me depart from that line of thinking to educate Pa Njie Girigara on the the need to establish the GPPA which was established by an act of the National Assembly. The objectives of the act which I believe are unknown to my brother Mr Njie are to provide a system for ensuring 1. Transparent, efficient and economic public procurement
2.Accountability in public procurement
3.. A fair opportunity to all prospective suppliers of goods, works, services and consultancy services
- The prevention of fraud,corruption,and other malpractices in public procurement to mention just a few.
My dear brother Mr Njie you said and I quote “Secondly Gamtel/ Gamcel procurement activities fall under the purview and control of the GPPA (Gambia Public Procurement Agency). The GPPA was established by the Jammeh regime under recommendation of the World Bank that funded its operations in its initial stage. This policy was largely geared towards curtailing and controlling the expenditures of public corporations such as Gamtel, GPA, GIA, GCCA, SSHFC and other public organizations involve in revenue generation. It was widely rumored that this GPPA institution came into being as a result of jealousy existing between the central government employees and the public corporation. Are you not contradicting your self here on one hand you said GPPA was established at the recommendation of World bank and the IMF. On another hand you said it was rumored that GPPA came into being because of the Jealousy between government employees and the public corporation . what has the latter to do with setting the right standards in the public procurement and ensuring that the tax payers money is put into good use. I think what my brother did not understand is that he did not read the act that establishes the GPPA and seems not to understand that Gamcel should not be operating as a sole monopoly because the Gambia is not a communist state where it dictate the means of production and exercise monopoly in the absence of private competitors,
But Gamcel just like any Public corporation must ensure accountability in Public Procurement, prevent fraud, corruption and malpractices in public procurement among other things. Those were some of the reasons the GPA was established by an act of the Nations Law making body- the National Assembly in case you don’t know. what you are calling for is to have Public Corporations unaudited and to become money making machines and spend those monies they make at their own discretion squandering tax payers money over seas. in the name of so-called Gamtel procurement unaudited. Let me remind you if you think that Gamtel will be allow to spend hundreds of millions of tax payers money overseas with the necessary tools to audit by relevant institutions, I think you are doing a great disservice to the Nation. why in the first place did you single out this big institution when public Corporations are by law accountable.
To be accountable is not only Political accountability it also includes Financial accountability to ensure tax payers money is utilize for good,that drugs do not run out of our hospitals, that Social amenities are maintain,civil servants are paid, Businesses keep running and the list goes on. An readers will agree with me that if that should happen, if the Barrow lead government were to listen to such, and exempt Gamtel, SSHFC, GPA and other from Public Scrutiny, His Excellency President Barrow will not be able to pay Salary in six months or import Medicine for our hospitals as the money making giants will as they make money for our economy which shows respectable performance under dictator Jammehs era will end up work for their pockets.
My brother you are again wrong and I will proof you again but first let me quote you “Jammeh himself snatch away the international gateway services from Gamtel’s control. This is totally wrong and illegal as Gamtel has the monopoly of the international services by Law. The Gambia telecoms law gave Gamtel the monopoly status on the international gateway services. This law is still alive and should be respected by the Barrow government.True if Jammeh as you put it snatch away the International Gateway,cant you see the answer to your predicament – the Gambian people have voted for change and the Gambia has a responsible Government that can right the wrong of dictator Jammeh. And as you claimed the law is still alive, then there is no case of concern the law speaks for itself.
My brother Mr Njie should try to familiarize himself with the functions of GPPA and make research on the problems of Gancel and not advocate for spending public money with impunity and rob our beloved nation of millions of its coffers. You have also raised and issue with private institutions like Africel and i want to believe you did not spare QCell as benefiting from undue advantage and I quote you again my Brother ” No wonder Africel has over 1 million subscribers leaving Gamcel trailing far aback with about 200 thousand subscribers. Africell can make on the spot marketing and financial decisions whiles Gamcel has to wait for GPPA whims and caprices. If Africell and Qcell are making a over a million customer base while Gamcell is trailing behind with 200 thousand. Did you try to ask why,. did you compare the difference in their marketing strategies, programs and customer benefits. Ask who first came up with making their lines validity for life? I cannot tell you as I don’t want to do marketing for any of the GSM company to disadvantage another? The anger you raised that a foreign Company should not come to Gamcel’s home and beat it failed woefully to recognize the fact that Africel and other private Companies have employ many a Gambian and are equally contributing their social responsibility to the Gambian Nation. I think a word for the wise is enough.
written by J. Gomez