By: Kebba AF Touray
The Management of The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), on Friday 27th July 2018, re-appeared before the Select Committee of the National Assembly on Public Enterprises. The interactive session between the Committee and the Management of the GPA, was meant for the Select Committee to thoroughly scrutinize the 2015-2016 Activity Report and Financial Statements, for the purpose of adopting a befitting and transparent report of the management.
Lamin L Sanyang, the former Ports Managing Director, said the operation of the Ports is customer driven, but expressed dismay over the outbreak of Ebola in 2015, coupled with the standards set by the then Government on international currencies during the same year, which he decried, cost the revenue status of the Ports dearly; that they were trading in Euros and Dollars and that the 60 percent of the containers in transit to countries like Mali, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, passed through the Gambia Ports Authority; that the reduction in cost of crude vessels have all contributed to the decline in the Ports revenue.
He however maintained that despite the outbreak and challenges, the Ports performed satisfactorily, and cash flow and revenue remained stable and Port operations and businesses, were well taken care of. Sanyang clarified that Port staff sent on training were bonded to a package of which he said, was budgeted and approved by the management.
Tamsir Sallah, Finance Director at GPA, disclosed that the revenue trend in 2011 was from D568,169,000 to D633,434,000 as at end December 2012, while in 2013, the revenue raised was D747,540,000 with an increase to D1 billion in 2014, due largely to improvement in the global economy, exchange rates and performances; that in 2015 the revenue registered was D799, 937,000.
The Chairperson of the PEC Committee Halifa Sallah, said the exercise is of great significance by virtue of the importance of PEC, in promoting the socio-economic development of the country; that those charged with the responsibility of Governance of the Authority, are obliged to comply with the dictates of Section 175, subsection 5 of the Constitution which states that: “Public Enterprises shall within three months of the end of financial year, submit an annual report to the National Assembly on the business and operations during the preceding year, provided that the appropriate committee of the National Assembly may extend the time for the submission of any report”.
Halifa added that the Public Enterprise Committee is the appropriate committee and that the existence of arrears and bad laws in the submission of the reports, compelled the committee to extend the time for the submission of the 2015 financial statement and activity report to March 2018; that the 2016 report is extended to June 2018 and that of the 2017 report to any date before end December 2018; that the Gambia Ports Authority, has submitted its 2015 and 2016 activity reports and financial statements on the option given by the Committee for review and adoption, with observations by the Public Enterprise Committee for onward transmission to the National Assembly, for the final adoption.
Halifa said the Statutes have also imposed the same burden for preparing the annual activity report and financial statement to PEC as mandatory, in Section 39 of the Public Enterprises Act for the Audited Accounts of Public Enterprises, to form part of the Auditor General’s annual report to the National Assembly.
“Hence it is the requirement of the Law that Auditors examine the accounts of the Gambia Ports Authority and other Public Enterprises in general, and furnish a report stating whether all the information and explanations required by them are obtained, and whether the balance sheet and accounts referred to in their report, are properly drawn up so as to exhibit a true and fair account of the affairs of the Corporation,” he said.
Sessions continue today Monday 2nd August 2018 at 13:00 hours, for continuation with the GPA Management.