By Mustapha Jallow
Abubakar Darbo, Director of Admin Human Resources (HR) for Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), was on Tuesday elected as Federated Pension Scheme (FPS) representative at the Board of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC).
Darbo succeeded his predecessor, Tamsir Sallah of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), who was the representative of the Board then. Seedy Drammeh from the Gambia Revenue Authority, who was a member of the Board also contested but didn’t win.
The trio contested and an election was conducted. Darbo defeated both contestants through a voting held at a local hotel in Bakau on 8th June, 2021.
Sallah’s term expired after serving the position for 3 years. The Board conducted fresh election as stated in the SSHFC Act 2015, which requires that a representative of the employee members of the Pension Fund serves in the Governing Body of the Corporation (together with other members) for an initial period of three years, and renewable once.
32 institutions that were eligible to vote were present, but only 31 individuals voted during the election exercise. The voting result was announced as follows: Darbo 11 vote, Sallah 10 vote and Drammeh 10 vote as well.
Speaking to reporters immediately he was elected, Mr. Darbo explained how the Board operates in different terms, saying the board looks at strategies and the responsibility of every board is to give strategic directions to the organisation.
Darbo added that the board members are also expected to have what he called ‘possible-acknowledge’ of how the issue are conducted for the environment. He said their mandate would be that the contributed money will be multiplied in the greater interest of members.
But this, he argued, would happen through policies, strategies and implementing them, which he described as the major problem they have.
“Sometimes, we can discuss issues of policies, strategies and so on, but when it comes to implementation and following through processes, that is a major problem,’’ said the newly elected FPS board rep.
In his capacity of serving top positions at GRTS, Darbo assured that through his experiences in version areas, changes will happen and they will add value as well.
“I am not a soul-carrier, just a member of the board. I will also play my part that will contribute towards the greatest that other played in making sure that we move the corporation to the next level,’’ Darbo assured.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Adoulie Tambedou, Managing Director of SSHFC, said since he was appointed into office, he has tried to ensure that the excesses of the previous regime are never repeated as per the slogan of the TRRC: “NEVER AGAIN.’’
“We have tried to work on the trajectory of improving the financial status of the Corporation to ensure that the deficits of the Actuarial valuation of 2014 of D518 million, reduced to a deficit of D29.8 million by the December 2017, valuation are improved upon in the December 2020 valuation,’’ he explained.
Tambedou acknowledged that having a good representative at the Board of the Corporation helps the management in the running of the Corporation, given the very important functions of the corporation done mainly through the guidance of the board.
He highlighted some of the challenges faced by the corporation, including heavy SOEs debt of 2.2 billion, of which less than D810 million has been taken over by the government. He said the remaining SOEs are mainly struggling due to the impact of the COVID-19, which has led to heavy withdrawals of savings due to those losing their jobs.
The out-going Board representative, Tamsir Sallah, recalled when he was the representative, saying they sailed through turbulent waters on issues relating to staff matters and unrest.
According to him, the prospects and future of SSHFC turned bright and the confidence in SSHFC as a respectable institution was normalized and since became the envy of all.
Sallah further highlighted the financial performance of the FPS, which this media will provide the figures in the next edition.