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 President wants PRIVATE particaption.

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toubab1020 Posted - 21 Jul 2022 : 10:41:42


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https://foroyaa.net/president-barrow-calls-for-private-sector-participation-in-transport-industry/
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As he Commissions 38 New Buses

By Makutu Manneh on July 20th 2022

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.

“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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toubab1020 Posted - 26 Jul 2022 : 14:40:46


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https://standard.gm/opinions/the-urban-transport-initiative/
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By Moses S Bass on 26th JULY 2022

A typical case of putting the cart before the horse and other issues uncovered

Recently, President Adama Barrow embarked on a tour of various project sites to assess headway registered as the country prepares to host the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Conference. Whether the conference will take place sooner or later is beyond the scope of this exposé. The state of works on urban roads was on his agenda during the visit but as events unfolded, his expression of disappointment couldn’t be hidden given the slow advancement he witnessed. Astoundingly, in less than five days, on Tuesday the 19th of July 2022, the president was yet again at another event to grace the commissioning of 33 new buses in what was regarded as a public private partnership between Q-Group and the Gambia Transport Service Company (GTSC). The launch of the new buses could perhaps be seen as a God-sent opportunity for members of the public given the recent rumors of commercial drivers wanting to increase fares amid rising cost of living in the country.

However, a second thought will let one realize that the project was rushed, not done in the proper sequence of things, and equally not based on systems thinking. Transportation in the Greater Banjul Area is a complex problem not marred by the shortage of vehicles but inter alia over congestion and poor planning and to address these, a holistic approach guided by systems thinking is needed and not as we have just witnessed. The President in his speech commended the project as he noted the following “this development cannot come at a better time considering the recent significant improvement on our road infrastructure network and the growing traffic congestion in the Greater Banjul Area”. This statement I believe, was made under the influence of presidential convoy privilege but let’s leave that for another day.

The speech of the general manager of GTSC gave an unblemished depiction of how things should have been done consecutively as he succinctly stated, “In the long run, to have an efficient and effective public transport system in the country, there has to be a realignment of our public transport infrastructure. We will need bus-based transit system with dedicated bus lanes to contain with traffic congestion and delays”. At this point you may ask yourself why in the long run or why was that not done first, considering the current traffic gridlock? With GTSC being in existence for the past eight years, when exactly is the long-term target to be achieved? Answers to these questions would have been relevant but notwithstanding, Mr. Kanyi has revealed the existing transportation problem quite vividly.

The event would not have been more interesting and more informative without Mr. Saloum Malang, the MD of SSHFC who also doubles as Chairman of GTSC board. The ‘two-hats man’ promised the audience of a speech centered on strategic issues regarding the way GTSC board, parallel bodies within the government and the private sector can join efforts to actualize government policies. He passionately spoke about GTSC’s potential collaborations with Agriculture as well as Tourism and Culture ministries and even went on to buttress on how river transport can be revitalized. However, in what could be described as departure from real strategy talk to fantasy, Mr. Malang stated, “your excellency, going beyond the borders, there exist a market for air transport in Casamance and Guinea Bissau and GTSC certainly has interest in plying those routes as well”. He also went on to reveal that the project was bound to become a loss-making venture had it not been the personal intervention of the president. This to me is in in fact a ground to question the very nature of the public private partnership. Clearly, the general manager of GTSC Mr. Kanyi indicated in his speech that there was a total of seven bidders out of which four were shortlisted and after thorough scrutiny, Q-group eventually won the bid.

But going by the words of the board chair, one could ask, at what point did the president “personally” intervene in the public-private partnership without which the project would have been a loss-making venture? What exactly is meant by the president personally intervening in a venture that is supposed to attract private sector expertise and financing? What is even more confusing is that while the board chair accorded thanks to the president for making the project a reality, the president in his speech extended thanks to Mr. Muhammed Jah instead. Could it be that the supposed public private partnership between GTSC and Q-group has been personified as Barrow-Jah partnership? While it will be lengthy to buttress on all the issues raised, it is safe to conclude the urban transport initiative could have been planned and executed better and that, the president himself has confirmed some of the missing salient steps when he stated futuristically the following “we will consider allocating routes on the local and secondary routes to GTSC based on agreed terms of engagement beneficial to all partners”.

Moses S Bass is a researcher and can be reached via email on mosessbass@gmail.com

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