PURA: Mobile Phone Penetration Reaches 2.7 Million Subscribers By Dec. 2020

259

By: Kebba AF Touray

Mr. Alieu Momodu Ngum, the Chairman of Board of Directors at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), has told the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) that mobile phone penetration rate stands at 111 percent, resulting in about 2.7 million subscribers by December 2020.

Mr. Ngum said this during the authority’s appearance before the FPAC for the presentation of its activity reports and audited financial statements for scrutiny, consideration and adoption.

“The telecommunications\ICT statistic continues to show positive movement in the provision of services and mobile phone penetration rate standing at 111 percent, about 2.7 million subscribers respectively by December 2020,” he said.

Ngum said that with the internet broadband penetration of 5 percent, The Gambia’s social media space has continued to thrive and that citizens are enjoying access to modern ways of interaction in cyberspace.

He added that the staff of the authority has during the year under review developed strategies and regulatory frameworks for stakeholders, noting that this has led to further investment in modern and robust networks and infrastructures in the electricity, water and communication sectors.

“Thus, laying the foundation for economic growth and development to facilitate and transform all sectors of The Gambia into a digital economy. The adoption of digital payments in the Gambian economy continues to be on the rise at different customer service points,” he said.

He also told the committee that in the electricity sub-sector, the uptake is on the increase as there are nine (9) registered players in the electricity electronic prepayment sales. During the year under review, he said the normal business of the institution was disrupted by a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Paul F Mendy, the Finance Director of PURA, told the committee that a fixed amount of D5 million for fixed line operators was invoiced in 2020, while stating that the authority maintains its stance on the regulatory fees invoice to NAWEC at the tune of D4 million per annum since 2008.

“Total income for the year 2020 stood at D130, 183, 930.00 compared to D77, 947,881.00 in 2019. Total expenses for the year 2020 were D86, 262,308.00 compared to D75, 939,668.00 [in 2019],” he reported.

Mr. Yusupha M Jobe, the Director General of PURA, said despite the impact of COVID-19, they were able to spearhead a lot of activities and reforms in terms of executing their due diligence and regulatory aspects to ensure that the public is duly served by the institutions under their purview.

He added that the key mandates of the authority include the telecom, energy and petroleum and broadcasting sectors.

“It is grounded on strategic pillars that these available services must be delivered to the consumers but also that we ensure that there is promotion of competition,” he said.