The National Assembly Public Enterprises Committee (PEC), with support from the Gambia Fiscal Management Development Project (GFMDP), concluded a week-long public outreach programme aimed at informing and educating the public about the committee’s roles and functions.

As part of the outreach programme, members of the committee responsible for scrutinising state-owned enterprises (SOEs) held an interactive and open day-long discussion with the public in Basse, Upper River Region (URR) on Wednesday, 17th April 2024.

The Alkalo of Basse, Hon. Sellu Bah, a former Member of Parliament, lauded the PEC’s initiative. He noted significant improvements in the National Assembly’s scrutiny procedures and encouraged URR communities to actively engage with committee members on issues impacting national development. He urged continued engagement beyond the outreach programme, highlighting the public’s role in informing the committee about matters requiring scrutiny concerning public enterprises.

Deputy Governor of Upper River Region, Mamanding Ceesay, welcomed the outreach and commended the committee for extending its responsibility to the people. He emphasised the importance of public understanding regarding the management and roles of public enterprises, considering their significance in national development.

PEC Chairperson, Hon. Lamin J. Sanneh, explained the committee’s functions as mandated by the Constitution. He clarified that public enterprises are intended to serve the country and provide essential services that drive national development. He elaborated that the PEC receives annual activity reports, financial reports, and management letters from the 14 enterprises under its purview for parliamentary scrutiny. He explained that the URR outreach aimed to support these enterprises in improving strengths and rectifying shortcomings.

Following committee presentations, the public posed questions and raised issues of concern. These included the collapse of industries like cotton and its potential revival to boost development and employment in the region. Other matters raised were challenges with the Banjul-Barra ferry service, the lack of dividends from public enterprises leading to potential privatisation, youth unemployment, the need to strengthen Gambia Radio in Basse with better technology and mobility, high internet and communication costs, regulation of weights and measures, and price control.

The outreach culminated in calls for a collective shift in attitude to encourage everyone to take ownership of public enterprises.

Committee members addressed the concerns and questions raised by the people of URR. Participating committee members included Hon. Lamin Ceesay (Kiang West), Hon. Sheriff Sarr (Jeshwang), Hon. Samba Jallow (Niamina Dankunku), Hon. Almameh E. Gibba (Foni Kansala), Hon. Salifu Jawo (Jokadu), Hon. Abdoulie Njie (Banjul Central), Hon. Ebrima Jaiteh (Sandu), and Hon. Billay G. Tunkara (Kantora).

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