PURA Public Outreach Focuses on Scams, Its Effects on Consumers 

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Gambia Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA) has on Tuesday, 21 November 2023 embarked on a public outreach on the theme “Scams and Its Effects on Consumers.”

The biennial “Bantaba” outreach programme marks the cornerstone to fostering development and understanding relating to the challenges faced by the communities in the rural areas of the Gambia

Mr Solo Sima, Deputy Director General of PURA speaking at the farewell ceremony held at the regulatory body Headquarters, said that the Bantaba which is a biennial initiative, is currently in its tenth year, and has over the years become a cornerstone of their commitment to fostering development and understanding, as it relates to the challenges faced by communities in the rural areas of the country.

He said that PURA is required by its Act to ensure that public utilities are provided and available throughout the country and that the interests and rights of all users of the regulated services are protected with respect to price, quality, and variety of services.

He said, “The Bantaba outreach serves as a platform that enables consumers to be better informed, educated, and be made aware of their rights and responsibilities with respect to the services that they consume.”

He expressed hope that the Bantaba series is instrumental in providing these platforms to achieve these expectations for the communities to voice out their challenges in accessing utility services that they regulate.

He reported that after decades of firm commitment, they have registered giant successes in communities such as Keneba (LRR), Nyamanarri (URR), and FoniJarrol (WCR) in resolving issues of network and electricity inaccessibility.

MrAlieuNgum, Board Chairman of PURA, said that in the ever-evolving landscape of deceptive acts courtesy of advancement in technology, where unscrupulous individuals exploit the vulnerable through telephone calls and other uncalled-for solicitation activities leading to the act of scamming, it is imperative that stakeholders remain vigilant and proactive in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“These malicious social menaces not only jeopardize the trust within our communities but also pose a significant threat to the very essence of the progress we aim to achieve as a regulatory institution,” he said.

He expressed that with togetherness and a united front against deception and scamming of all sorts, as indicated by this year’s theme, they will continue to make a profound difference in the lives of those whom they seek to serve.

He told the sensitisation team that their commitment to raising awareness and empowering the Gambian people on this front is worth commendation and that the efforts of the team not only touched many lives but would also have sown the seeds of resilience against the deceit that threatens the well-being of those they serve.

During the outreach, the team is scheduled to visit a total of 20 communities such as Foni Bullock, Jali, Kiang Kwinellah, Sankuwia, Karantaba, DippaKunda, DamphaKunda (URR), BatiNdarr (CRR) among other communities.