By Momodou Jarju
The Government of The Gambia has placed embargo on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) barrowing from one another, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs said on Wednesday at the national assembly in Banjul.
Mambury Njie, who was responding to questions raised by lawmakers said there has been default of payments by some SOEs to Social Security and Housing Financing Corporation (SSHFC) in particular and they have placed an embargo on borrowing to address the matter.
“Currently, there is an embargo on all the SOEs borrowing. If only it is necessary and if it is a life and death situation, we can allow but even with that, we have to make sure their cash flow will be able to contain that,” he said.
Speaking further, Minister Njie said the SOEs that have defaulted in their payments to Social Security based on the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2018 between SSHFC and SOEs are the Gambia International Airline (GIA), Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), GAMCEL and GAMTEL.
He added: “For NAWEC, Ministry of finance has taken up the responsibility to pay on their behalf and we are currently making payments as agreed with the SSHFC.”
Minister Njie said NAWEC was the heaviest defaulter and it is a contingent liability on them. He said there is an arrangement because them, as the finance ministry owes NAWEC, so they will pay on behalf of NAWEC, adding it would be deducted from the money they owe NAWEC.
“Is an MOU we have with them (NAWEC),” he said.
Minister Njie said the other SOEs that are on track with payments plans are Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) and Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).
Alhagie Mbow, Member for Upper Saloum, who asked the minister to inform the national assembly how many public enterprises owe social security, further asked the minister about the plans they put in place to ensure the defaulters pay SSHFC.
Minister Njie said they are encouraging the defaulters to sign an MOU with Social Security and they will do the monitoring to ensure that in their annual budgets, the payment plans are adhered to.