By Momodou Jarju
Officials of GNPC at the Public Enterprise Committee sitting, Photo By Momodou Jarju
The Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has on Tuesday informed the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) of the National Assembly that they are finding it difficult to complete preparation of its 2018 activity report and financial statement for submission to the aforesaid committee due to stolen data.
The public enterprise was supposed to submit both activity report and financial statement for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively for presentation before the committee.
However, the company only submitted the 2017 activity report and financial statement. The company had a preliminary engagement with the Select Committee before and officials of GNPC raised a similar matter.
The Chairman of Board of Directors of GNPC, Sheikh Omar Gigo, said they have been working on finding out the data that is missing.
“A lot of things have happened at GNPC. Maybe our case is very unique because we did have a situation where the finance director’s office was broken into and there were lots of stuffs that were taken from that office. And this has actually caused us lots of problems because we have not been able to put all the data together. This has wasted a lot of time. And I think principally, that is the reason why we have been trying to do everything humanly possible to get the financial statement and activity report together within a timeframe that is actually reasonable but also practical,” he said.
Chairman Omar Gigo said they want to honour their word by adhering to the agreed date of submission, but they have realised that if they don’t do their exercise properly, they might end up making mistakes that had happened in the past in the new financial statement because there would be recurrence.
“So this is a problem that we are facing right now at GNPC,” he said.
Yaya Barrow, the Managing Director of the GNPC said they are faced with issues of documentation, saying this was stated during their first meeting with PEC.
He said that was why they asked PEC to allow them up to 31st March, 2020 to submit the audited account of 2018 together with the activity report and financial statement.
“We are actually working very hard to meet that deadline,” he said.
Barrow added that if they don’t provide sufficient data, they might defeat the whole purpose of auditing.
He said this was the agreed timeline when they met. However,, he said while they were gathering the data, some issues popped up; as a result, it might be difficult for them to fulfill the agreed timeline.
Asked when they would be able to do that, Mr. Barrow said hopefully by 31 April, 2020.
On the submission of the 2019 reports which are due for 31 March, 2020, Bakary Jammeh, chairman of the finance committee of GNPC, said they plan to submit the 2019 report by September 2020.
PEC chair Halifa Sallah asked the board and management on whether they could recalibrate the plan submission date by virtue of the fact that they have defaulted in the agreement of not submitting the 2018 report on time.
He further asked whether they could submit the 2019 reports on 31 August, 2020, which PEC set aside to be the deadline for ending all backlog on public enterprises.
GNPC officials responded in the positive.
Sallah then reminded the officials of GNPC that as a committee, they have many options but they understand that institutions must go through transition and they are going through the transition together.
“And we hope that all of you will see the value in oversight because it enables you to reflect on the challenges of the institution and move forward in a more dynamic way,” Sallah said.
Thereafter, the select committee thus accepted the request and the new date agreed upon for the company to submit its reports before PEC for further presentation and possible consideration or adoption.