By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA), has successfully completed a ten-day countrywide engagement with service consumers.
Held this year under the theme “Customers and Cyber Crime in the Digital Era”, the countrywide engagement was meant to raise awareness on customers’ rights and protection against abuse of all sorts.
The flagship program called ‘The Bantaba’, is designed to provide the Authority the opportunity to listen to complaints and challenges encountered by utility service consumers, with a view to offer lasting solutions to their problems.
Speaking at the closing ceremony the countrywide engagement in the North Bank Region village of Fass Njaga Choi, the Director-General of PURA Yusupha M. Jobe, said the Regulatory Authority is always delightful to see service consumers happy and appreciative of the services they consume.
“Our role as regulators and enforcers is anchored on the relevance of seeing public utility service customers happy, knowing that these services are critical for their livelihoods,” Jobe said.
He disclosed that ‘The Bantaba’ is one of the best creations for drawing up a fair balance between rural and urban service consumers in terms of reaching quality and accessibility; that the feedback received from the tour is important and relevant to them in the development of strategies for improved and quality service delivery to the public. He promised to replicate the outlook of ‘The Bantaba’ into a virtual platform to target more consumers.
DG Jobe expressed gratitude to customers and service providers for their meaningful participation throughout the countrywide engagement.
“In future, we endeavour to have other service providers such as the petroleum sector, to participate in the countrywide engagement. This will help generate as much feedback as possible from the public,” he said.
Solo Sima, the Director of Consumer Affairs at PURA, stated that the ‘Bantaba’ flagship program is the Authority’s highly passionate and designated program rolled out to the public, in a bid to make quality services available, accessible and affordable to all, irrespective of their location; that the ‘Bantaba’ will help service providers to effectively take feedback directly from the public, with the ultimate aim to improve their service delivery systems in the country.
The liberalization drive Sima argued, has explicitly brought about massive expansion and innovation in the service development offered to the public.
The Corporate Affairs Manager of PURA Yaya B. Baldeh on his part, said the nationwide tour has availed service providers opportunity to interface with their consumers and to unravel their challenges and concerns for consideration.
The 4th Edition of ‘Bantaba’ flagship program rolled out by PURA has unearthed first-hand, the challenges faced by the public from GSM operators and NAWEC, who served as partial observers during the tour. Expectations are that with this interface, utility service providers will accordingly enhance and improve their services to meet public demands in terms of quality, affordability and accessibility.