Sunday, December 4, 2022

President Barrow Calls For Private Sector Participation in Transport Industry

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As he Commissions 38 New Buses

By Makutu Manneh

Commissioning 33 buses, one heavy duty truck and 4 pickup trucks at the McCarthy Square on Tuesday July 19th 2022, President Adama Barrow called on the private sector to participate in the transport industry for effective and efficient operation in the country.

“Given the fact that the road transport system is liberalised, I challenge the private sector to play a more active and diverse role in the sector,” he said.

Speaking further, Barrow said the government will create incentives to facilitate and broaden private sector participation in public transportation activities. He assured that his government will continue to support GTSC to operate buses in all regions of the country, while encouraging private partners to invest more in infrastructure development to support the sector.

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“Government will steadfastly seek to improve the transport sector through all relevant stakeholders, especially the operatives within it,” he said. “Recently, we established the Department of Transport at the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure to assume oversight responsibility of policy and regulation of road transport and other related sub-sectors.”

Barrow said the new buses will ease transportation for low-income households and make transport operations more viable, as transport providers are likely to increase hours of operation, service frequency, and destinations. He added that all the above mentioned will go with environmental benefits, such as reducing emissions and reducing the road congestion currently experienced on the road links in the urban area.

Barrow added that the project will create employment for at least seventy Gambians, while hoping the initiative will lower the high rate of road accidents to the barest minimum. The president expects that the project will extend services to the rural area in order to address the transport challenges throughout the country.

President Barrow stated that the supply credit arrangement between GTSC and the Q-Group (Espace Motors), through the provision of urban transport services, will immensely ease transportation for low-income households; that besides this, it will make transport operations more viable, as transport providers are likely to increase hours of operation, service frequency, and destinations.

“We will consider allocating routes on the local and secondary roads to GTSC, based on agreed terms of engagement beneficial to all partners,” President Barrow said; that the relevant authorities will arrange to review the legislative frameworks to enable the Government to play the triple role of facilitator, regulator and enforcer, while the private sector takes on operational responsibilities within the sector.

Seedy Kanyi, GTSC General Manager, identified 25 routes starting from Banjul to different destinations across the country for the operation of the buses whilst most of the routes are within the Greater Banjul Area. He said they have envisaged transporting thousands of passengers covering a distance of 5, 000 kilometre daily.

Kanyi said recently they have been under pressure and in a hurry to catch up with an increasing demand for their services. He said to have an efficient and effective public transport system in the country, there has to be a realignment of their public transport infrastructure.

GTSC boss said they would need a bus-based transit system with dedicated bus lanes to contain traffic congestion and delays and that with the right support from the government and other stakeholders, GTSC will be in position to provide reliable, affordable and safe transport service.

He said he sees the new business relationship as a foundation for more fruitful engagement with the Qgroup and the private sector.

Muhammed Jah, Chairman of Qgroup, assured GTSC that they are not only going to be suppliers but they will be their partners to support them in executing their mandate in solving the transport problem in this country.

He said Qgroup will endeavor to work with the government of the Gambia and the people to help eradicate poverty in their society in a significant way.

“The fundamental principle of Qgroup is to participate in the socioeconomic development of our country,” he said.

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