By Makutu Manneh
Gambian President Adama Barrow has inaugurated a new printing machine, dubbed Bielomatik Exercise Book Machine, worth about D50 million.
Officials say the machine has the capacity to print more than 20 thousand exercise books per hour.
Speaking at the GPPC facility at UTG, The Gambian President called on Gambians, businesses and institutions both private and public to support GPPC to utilization of the novel printing machine.
Mr. Barrow said the procurement of the machine was meant to meet the country’s demand in printing and this clearly demonstrated his government’s commitment to providing affordable and quality education for all. He added that affordable and quality education for every Gambian is a key priority of his government.
“This new development reassures every one of my government’s determination to generate and protect the much needed revenue to fund our national development project,” he said.
President Barrow said the new machine will provide timely provision of exercise books to schools as well as facilitate the origin of public enterprises and increase revenue collection. Barrow implored the GPPC board, management and staff to ensure proper management and maintenance of the machine.
Ebrima Sillah, Minister of Information, said if the machine is optimally utilized, it can generate between seven hundred million to one billion dalasi revenue for GPPC. Sillah said henceforth, Gambian authors will have their books printed locally at a cheaper price at the GPPC.
“Gambia used to spend nothing less than 4 million dollars annually to print exercise books outside the country,” he said.
He said already, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) have signed an MOU with GPPC to print text books for all the upper basic schools in The Gambia.
Mr. Sillah said MoBSE has approved the first payment of 20 million dalasi books to GPPC, representing the work of 19 Gambian authors whose work will be distributed in Gambian schools.
Momodou Cessey, the Managing Director of GPPC, said with the fullest support, the machine is capable of meeting the entire nation’s demand of exercise books as well as export to the market in the sub-region.
Mr. Cessey said the achievement is not only expected to turn around the corporation’s production capacity and revenue base, but it will also put The Gambia on the map of exporting countries in the area of exercise books. He said the machine can also produce A1, A2, A3 and A4 papers. He described this as a significant milestone in the history of the corporation. GPPC MD said the machine can move the corporation from a buyer and importer of papers to a seller and exporters of papers.
“The corporation is confident that the installation of the machine will boost the revenue base of the corporation and also meet the government stationery requirements,” he said.
GPPC is a public institution responsible forthe printing and publishing documents for the government, public enterprises and private corporations.