Tuesday, March 21

President Barrow says it is no secret that State-Owned Enterprises play a vital role

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President Adama Barrow, has stated that it is no secret that State-Owned Enterprises play a vital role in national development endeavours.

“It is expected that, in providing essential social services for the public, they do so in a financially and operationally robust manner to ease the pressure on Central Government resources and contribute positively to economic growth,” he said at the signing ceremony of performance contracts with the Gambia Ports Authority, Social Security, Housing Finance Corporation and Gambia National Petroleum Company in Banjul on Tuesday.

He added: “Our experience is that, despite the enormous investments made by the Government in SOEs, many of these entities continue to post losses.

This has made it necessary to devise a renewed strategy to change the narrative and strengthen their operations and performance.”

He stressed that his government is committed to solving the trouble of ineffective SOE oversight, which has contributed to the current low-performance levels of some public enterprises.

To this end, he vowed that they have taken important steps to remedy the legacy issues constraining Public Enterprise operations, adding that the key among them was to conduct a Special Purpose Audit on all thirteen SOEs in the country.

He also said, apart from the audit, it was thought appropriate to introduce an SOE Bill, which will be tabled before the National Assembly soon, noting that once passed, the SOE Bill will lead to the establishment of a Commission with oversight functions on all SOEs.

“We have reached a critical stage in the development process of this country wherein all public institutions have to deliver on their mandates in the most efficient, effective, and transparent manner. That is the only way we can realize our collective goals as a nation.

Moving forward, the Government will continue to work with all Public Enterprises and ensure that they do not only deliver public services reliably and efficiently but also contribute to Government fiscal operations by disbursing dividends payable to their shareholders,” President Barrow said at the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

He further said the signing of these Performance Management Contracts between his  Office and the respective Heads of SOEs and Board Chairpersons is another relevant and critically significant Government initiative.

President Barrow said the contracts are designed to challenge SOEs and spell out the roles they are expected to play to achieve the objectives and targets set for them, adding that  also, they are to ascertain that SOE performance and results are closely and rightly monitored and measured,  

He noted that in addition, the contracts are to guarantee the establishment of a strategic framework for accountability and effective communication between the Enterprises and their stakeholders. 

“Public expectations are high in the country. With relevant competence, authority, and integrity, SOE Boards should execute their functions of strategic guidance, monitoring, and management oversight by acting in the best interest of their Public Enterprises and shareholders.

Board decisions should be consistent with the mandate of the SOEs and best practices. I encourage you to review and update your Board Charters.

Like Management, you will be held accountable for failure to attain the targets indicated in the Performance Contracts,” the Gambian leader pointed out.

He challenged and encourages Public Enterprises to initiate change and put an end to undue contentment and under-achievement or low performance in service delivery. 

“I ask all public servants, ranging from Ministers to Board Members and Management, to view and appreciate these contracts from a positive perspective. Those entrusted with responsibility must deliver for their moral satisfaction but, more so, for the public good. In this way, the country would create and boast of high-performing Public Enterprises that serve the public diligently,” President warned.