By Momodou Jarju
The Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) of the National Assembly has on Tuesday adopted the consolidated activity reports and financial statements for the year ended 31 December, 2018 of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) and its subsidiary, the Gambia Ferry Services Company.
The adoption followed hours of review and scrutiny the select committee had with both GPA and its subsidiary company to assess whether their reports represent a fair view of the state of affairs their activities and financial transactions for the period under review.
Member for Jokadu, Salifu Jawo, asked the board and management of GPA what they are doing in terms of negotiation with the government to ensure they are given or repaid the money owed to them. He also asked the payment modalities involved on the Authority’s investment.
In his response, Ousman Jobarteh, Managing Director GPA, said the Trust Bank Investment is paying dividend and the Gam Petroleum is yielding dividend. He said for the past two years, Gam Petroleum has been paying dividend.
“But prior to that the company has been reporting loses. It was only in 2016 that they started paying dividend to GPA as a shareholder because the GPA owns about 14% shares in Gam Petroleum,” he said.
On the issue of Gallia Holdings Marshal Island, MD Jobarteh, said the investment was an acquisition of ferries with a Greek partner. He said the joint venture agreement went into trouble and the Greek partners, summon the Gambia Government shareholders through the International Court of Arbitration in the UK for the non-operationalization of the two ferries that were Al Kansala and Aljandu.
Jobarteh added that the matter went to the International Court of Arbitration and an out of court settlement was reached with the Greek Partners and that matter has been settled at that level.
Speaking further, he said: “With regards to NAWEC and GAMTEL, Government had lately convened all SOEs in a forum that is called “A settlement of Cross Arrears Among SOEs” with a view to having to answer the concerns some of the debt owed to SOEs need to be resolved which was also highlighted in the forensic audit that was commissioned by an international auditing firm called Earnest and Young. So as we speak, SOEs are having bilateral agreements with a view to settling the outstanding arrears.”
One of the challenges, Jobarteh indicated was the issue of reconciliation particularly with bills regarding GAMCEL and GAMTEL.
“They are having reconciliation issues. But the contracts that are signed at the bilateral levels have made provision for the repayment by installment. And in the event of default there is a default cause that is built in the contract where if for reasons of reconciliations, the two institutions cannot agree there would be still work to be done further than that,” he said.
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