By Kebba Secka
National Assembly’s Public Enterprise Committee on Monday 30th July made recommendations observations and adoptions of the GPA’S balance sheet and financial reports for the years ended 2015/16. The reports after having been closely scrutinised, was unanimously adopted by members. During the interactive session, members took turn seeking clarification on areas of doubts.
The National Assembly member for Latrikunda Sabiji Hon. Sakou Marong asked management of GPA to explain the 1.83million investment reports captured in 2014 and the 216 million investment made in 2015. Hon. Marong further asked GPA management to clarify the additional investment of 4% which is equivalent to 1.4m Euros made in 2015 as indicated in their report that they say was an executive directive. He still challenged the management to explain to members whether they are answerable to government directives or they have to acted on their own.
In response to the questions GPA former Managing Director, Lamin L. Sanyang said: ‘’The investment in Gam Petroleum Storage Facilities was a government directive through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in a letter dated on 22nd April, 2008 and it was part of the Gambia Petroleum initiatives.” According to him, the Authority’s investment represents 10% stake in Gam Petroleum Company Limited. He said as part of the Authority’s impairment review a total of 115.5 dalasis was made against this investment.
On whether GPA is answerable to government’s directives, the Deputy Managing Director said: “In the history of Gam Petroleum, it was an investment that was made by privately owned individuals and then, government also put up concerns and directed that parastatals should also have shares in that investment so that there would be no monopoly.” According to him, it was in that regard that the former government gave directives to GPA.
He said the first investment that GPA had made was 10% and it did not take control of the facilities as the way government wanted it be in 2015 that, government also suggested to them to have a total control of the management of the facilities and that there was the need for additional shares for government to buy. Sanyang former manager said the reason why government directed the parastatals to go in for the total control of shares was because government was bankrupt at the time. He said in that regard, GPA was asked to buy 4% to add to the 10% as was needed making it 14% in total.
The Gambia Port Authority explained that their involvement in Gallia Holding Company Limited was an executive directive from the former president that a joint venture agreement was signed between Gallia Holdings- Marshall Island and the government of the Gambia dated 5th March 2011 ear-marked to establish, develop, manage, and operate two ferries to be ply the two major crossing points across the country as well as the existing fleet of ferries deployed through the Gambia which are both national and international importance as they formed regional transport network. “The agreement specified ownership of 55% Gallia Holdings with government of the Gambia 45%, this percentage whose shares holding have been taken over by Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation and the Authority,’’ said Finance Director Tamsir Sallah. According to him, this investment was through a government directive as well as its international importance and in that regard, the government gave directives to GPA.
On page 23 of the 2015 reports, the Hon. member for Basse Muhammed Magassey asked the management of GPA to help clarify or update them with the loan granted by the Social Security and Housing Financing Corporation loaned them amounting to 150 million (150,000,000) for the purchased of new ferries. According to the Finance Director of GPA, the institution has to seek for loan from banks to facilitate the purchase of those ferries. ”In 2016/17 we were able to purchase the ferries that are Kunta Kinteh and Aljamdu Ferries. Hon member for Basse Magassey still asked the management to specify his explanation to the committee when it says “the payment of the contract for the purchasing of the ferries,’’. According to management the ferries were bought in 2016 and repaired for their anchorage.