By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia’s State Broadcaster, GRTS has on Friday 5 October, 2018, appeared before the National Assembly Select Committee on Public Enterprises dubbed PEC for the presentation of its Activity Report and Financial Statement for the years 2015 and 2016. However proceedings suffered setback as the current GRTS Board Chairman was not present.
Members of the PEC regarded this as a contempt of the National Assembly and called for it to discontinue, as it has obstructed the functions of the National Assembly
The Director General of the State Broadcaster, Abdou MK Touray, informed the Committee that their appearance before the committee is in fulfillment of a constitutional requirement as a state enterprise. He said cognizant of the significance of the presentation, the GRTS Management has prepared its activity report and financial statement for the years 2015 and 2016 and have also prepared a five year strategic plan, which is currently being validated.
He however explicated that his institution would like to present its aforementioned reports, but disclosed that its current Board Chairman was engaged and could not sign the documents. He thus appealed to the committee to reconsider a new date which he suggested to be either on the 23 and 24 October for them to be able to present the required reports.
Hon. Saikou Marong, Momodou Camara and Salif Jaw, Members of the PEC Committee, have all urged the State Broadcaster and other Public Enterprises to avoid the occurrence of excuses, which will not be accepted, adding that the country has to move forward and change has to be effected. They also cited that such engagements will help change the bad laws that have been prevailing in the country for the past years, so as to ensure transparency and accountability on the public funds used by the PEs, as well as to boost public confidence in both Members of the public enterprises and the Legislators.
Hon. Alagie Jawara, Vice Chairman of the Public Enterprise Committee, added that the move is in line with section 175 subsection (5) of the Constitution, which states that, “All public enterprise shall within three months before the end of its fiscal year, submit an annual report to the National Assembly on its business and operation:
Provided that the appropriate committee of the National Assembly may extend the time for the submission of any report”.
“We expect GRTS to be exemplary, we know that you are making effort, but we would like you to add more. This is what we expect, we will be happy seeing public enterprises doing what is expected of them and that will help us add more to our oversight functions”, he said.
He also informed the management that the penalties levelled against them will be communicated to them in a letter through the Clerk.