By Binta Jaiteh & Mustapha Jarju
At least fifty members of the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters (NFTR) The Gambia Chapter were sensitized on the role of the Journalists in how to enhance the Public Private Partnership in nation development.
The daylong sensitization sponsored by the Jah Oil Company was held on Wednesday, 25th October 2023 at the BrikamaRegional Education Office, it brought together journalists from different media houses – radio, TV, newspaper, and online, too.
The interactive sensitization forum was punctuated with different presentations followed by questions and answers.
In his remarks, Abdoulie Nyockeh, President of the Network for Financial Reporters The Gambia gave the background information about the network.
The network, he said was formed in March 2019 to closely work with the tax authority to raise awareness for revenue mobilization for the government, and the primary objective of this Network is to ensure that there is transparency on the payment of taxes between the government, business community and the Tax Authority.
He reiterated that the sensitization was organized by the NFTR and fully supported and powered by the Jah Oil Company.
Mr. Nyocke called on the participants to make themselves comfortable as the forum dealt with thematic areas which included roles of the media in enhancing public-private partnerships, irresponsible journalism, access to information, misuse of social media, and the role of the private sector, and its contributions in national development, among others pressing issues affecting tax reporters operations.
“The importance of the unflinching support by Jah Oil Company cannot be overemphasized, for the fact that today’s media engagement forum will enhance the capacity of journalists to report accurately on issues of public interest,” he extolled the sponsor for its support to the network.
He, therefore, called on other public and private sectors to have open-door policies for the media, “we are not enemies, neither threat, instead partners in development. We believe in development as a network through partnership. Neither government nor the private sector can succeed alone in developing this country.”
Mr. Musa S. Sheriff, the Managing Director and Editor-In-Chief of The Voice newspaper challenged Gambia journalists to always report financial issues in the country rather than political issues only.
“We have banks, micro-finance, small scale business, bureau de changes, and other financial activities that are underreported,” he emphasised while questioning the importance of the network when its importance is neglected by members.
He said members of the NFTR from different media landscapes should not just follow workshops while the editors should provide space in their various media houses to air, and publish financial issues regularly.
Mr. Hydara reminded the financial reporters of the need to do more stories on banks and insurance companies in the country so that the populace would know more about their financial transactions.
However, it is the work of the network to provide financial information daily, “because our role is to inform, investigate, and educate the masses,” said The Voice MD.
Mr. Momodou Hydara, the General Manager of the Jah Oil Company gave the synopsis of the company’s products, activities, and social responsibility in the country.
He noted that in any country the government is not the major employer but the private sector.
But “What is surprising is that as some institutions are trying to expand there are others out there that will be kicking against expansion by doing everything to discourage such expansion,” he added.
He noted that every single Jah Oil Company petrol station in this country it is Gambians that are employed to work there.
Mr. Momodou Hydara who has answered different questions posited before him during the sensitization urged NFTR to make this such sensitization a continuous one and even beyond the concluded one.
“This initiative should be a continuous thing to have a forum and make sure that we share ideas, and thoughts to see how to make issues better when it comes to public and private sectors. Collectively we will give you the tools you need because you are part of nation-building,” he urged for the continuity of the forum.
Momodou Jallow, Chief State House Correspondence, AlieuSowe of NACOFAG, Ebrima Camara, Finance Director of Global Investment Synergy Company, among others, made presentations at the sensitization forum.