By Kebba Ansu Manneh
The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), on Friday, August 19th, 2022, handed over a cheque amounting to D170 million (one hundred and seventy million dalasis) as dividend payment to the Ministry of Finance and Economics Affairs for onward transmission to the government of The Gambia.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Infrastructure, Ebrima Sisawo expressed delight to be associated with the event in showing the importance of GPA in the country’s economic growth.
The PS of Works described the 2021 performance of GPA as a key milestone in the history of the country, despite the challenges that were registered during the year in review which affect the shipment lines of all seaports globally, including The Gambia.
“They have challenges, capacity challenges in particular, but the management has made efforts to come up with transformation which has helped in trying to improve the situation at the port.”
“The waiting time at the port used to be 21 days, but this has been reduced to 10 days. This is as a result of some of the renovations at the port recently,” he admitted.
Sisawo reaffirmed his ministry’s commitment to ensuring that a wide investment at the port is achieved by inviting international investment in making the GPA very competitive in the sub-region.
Receiving the cheque on behalf of the government, the Minister of Finance, Honourable Seedy Keita commended the GPA for this historic dividend paid to the government and acknowledged that it is the largest amount the government has ever received from a parastatal.
“We are emphasizing this call to all public enterprises that we expect better performances from them. We are moving towards a performance management system where all the SOEs will be required to sign performance contracts with the government. We have already signed one with NAWEC and we intend to sign three additional ones this year, namely with the GPA, GNPC, and SSHFC,” he disclosed.
Minister Keita stressed that it is time for public enterprises to start living up to their mandate and deliver on their promises to provide good quality public services as well as to contribute meaningfully to the government’s development agenda by paying dividends to the government to fund vital social and infrastructural developments.
This amount presented has been hailed as the biggest dividend to be declared by any government SOE in the history of the country which also shows GPA as one of the most regular SOEs honoring its obligation to the government.