By Momodou Jarju
The Secretary General of the Gambia National Transport Union Congress, Ebrima Garba Cham, has urged the government to provide funds for good roads in order to ameliorate the sector.
Mr. Cham was speaking to journalists yesterday at a press-conference at Churchill’s Town Garden Gym aimed at informing the public on serious issues ongoing in the transport industry.
He said the money is available to build feeder roads in the country because every year the transport industry contributes millions of dalasi to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yet it is underdeveloped.
He urged the government to provide them with better car parks and feeder roads.
He said good feeder roads are needed to smoothen the congestion of traffic or/and the transportation of goods and services, especially in Banjul and Kanifing Municipality to arrest the situation of passengers paying triple fares to and from work.
Garba Cham also said many drivers have lost their lives while on traffic without being compensated, saying drivers only receive pension benefits from their trade unions.
He said the transportation of goods and services in and out of the Gambia is another concern that they are faced with.
Recently, he went on, Senegal had blocked vehicles loaded with cashew nuts from entering The Gambia.
According to him, Senegal and The Gambia signed a free protocol agreement on free movement of goods and services few months ago, therefore such actions, he said are not expected.
Mr. Cham further said they were supposed to hold a congress but the one who is supposed to prepare a statement of accounts and provide it to the interim members of the committee they set up comprising all the five transport associations in the country, failed to comply.
He said under clause 7D of the relevant document, “Before congress a statement of account must be prepared and subjected to discussion at the congress and also must be filed to the registrar of trade unions in accordance with section 103 of the Labour Act 2007.”
He said the secretary general of the committee was authorized to write to and request the person concerned to provide the statement of account but he did not comply, without any genuine reason(s).
Also speaking at the press conference, Jarga Faal, president of the Gambia National Transport Control Association said the transport industry has been facing a lot of problems for the past two years.
He therefore called on the relevant authorizes to intervene and address the matter forthwith.
Abdoulie Touray, president of the Transport Drivers Union said the government should stop belittling their concerns. He urged the government to come up with necessary measures to end the many years’ problems of the transport sector of the country.