Gov’t endorses Gamtel’s privatisation

Gov’t endorses Gamtel’s privatisation

The minister for Communications & Digital Economy (MOCDE), Ousman O. Bah, has stated that the Gambia government has agreed and passed a cabinet paper to privatise Gamtel and  sell Gamcel outright.

Minister Bah, who recently presented the cabinet paper for the privatisation and the sale of the two national properties at the National Assembly, said during a question-and-answer session for Ministers by NAMs: “My advice to the President was to prepare a cabinet paper that would inform the suggestion of the Ministry with these two institutions, which resulted in the approval of going into privatisation, so that private partner participation can inject investment, since government does not have the funds to continue to support these two institutions, which are highly in debt.”

Gamcel, the minister cited, has over D14 million in debt. “Thus, a company cannot continue to run in that state, and they are not contributing to the state currently,” he stated.

Asked about the revenue decline in Gamtel and Gamcel, the Minister said many reasons were responsible for the decline in revenue.

“Outdated technology, over-flooded staff, revenue generation limitation, low level of service innovation, inadequate investment in technology and infrastructure upgrade are the main contributors,” he said.

He also said the fiber assets were yet to be transferred to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). However, he added, the following were what informed the supposedly transferred Gamtel fiber and telecom asset to the SPV.

“This was informed by the World Bank support SOE Reform Project in which pilot study was done on the financial and operational viability of Gamtel,” he explained.

“The study found Gamtel highly in debt with overpopulated staff and operational inefficiency. This was followed by an optional study to gauge the best option of revitalising Gamtel, and among the options approved by Cabinet in 2019 is the establishment of an SPV. The Gamtel HR audit in July 2016 suggested that around 75% of the employees were either ghost workers or could be made redundant.”

Informed by the study conducted, the Minister alluded that “revenue collection will be positive if the restructuring is done and Gamtel will be able to retain staff with relevant skills and know-how”.

Following the study, he concluded, “the management has changed” as at now.

“Gamtel is not an implementing agent of government,” he shed some light, “it is an SOE. However, the government continues to support Gamtel to deliver its mandate. Funds were mobilised by the government to build infrastructure for Gamtel, especially the ACE, the NBN Fiber rolled out across the country and the data centre. And some of these loans are still being serviced by government.”

Source: The Point

Post a Comment

Translate »