The Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly on Thursday unanimously considered and adopted the Annual Activity Report and Audited Financial Statement of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).
Delivering the annual report, Captain Abdourahman Bah, deputy managing director of GPA, who deputised the managing director, revealed that the Authority registered 1,718, 938 tons in the year ended 31st December 2011 compared to 1, 402, 135 tons in 2010, representing an increase of 23%. He added that the Authority realised in turnover by 33% from D427M in 2010 to D568M in 2011.
He said that net before tax increased to D78M in 2011 from D41M in 2010, whilst net profit after tax also increased from D26.4M in 2010 to D54.8M in 2011 despite the increase in corporation tax charges from D14.8M in 2010 to D22.9M in 2011, representing an increase of 55%, and also the increase in the heavy debt service charges from D25.1M in 2010 to D94.4M in 2011.
Bah told the Committee that the import traffic, which constitutes about 83% of throughput, is dominated by traditional commodities such as sugar, rice, flour, cement and liquid bulk products. He added that RORO vessels also comprise a significant percentage of import figures.
He continued: "Containerised cargo which accounts for approximately 67% of the yearly import traffic has registered a rise compared to 65% in 2010. During the year under review, Teus handled increased from 58, 521 (2010) to 71, 932 (2011) indicating an increase of 23%. The number of vessel calls decreased by 0.6% from 360 in 2010 to 358 in 2011. Net registered tonnage increased by 3% from 1, 412,059 in 2011. The gross registered tonnage however slightly decreased by 0.8% from 3, 083, 326 in 2010 to 3, 058,000 in 2011. The above figures indicate a continuing change in average vessel size and load factor."
Bah assured the Committee that despite the adversities in other operational variables that are beyond the Authority's control, the Port would strive to continue improving on its overall performance especially in ship operations, cargo throughput, handling productivity and ship turnaround time. He said that it is pleasing to note that their human assets have contributed immensely towards the achievement of the Authority's success in the year under review through the realisation of their corporate vision and mission statements.
He also revealed that the Port of Banjul serves respectively as an entry and exit point for almost 80% of country's import and export trade. "In responding to the needs of their customers, the Port is continuously investing in resources both human and capital as evidenced by both long and short-term courses, local and overseas courses especially at the lower cadre and also the procurement of cargo handling equipment and its associated spare parts," he added.
Bah further assured the Committee that in their drive to meet the targets of the Authority's development objectives, the GPA would continue to endeavour to adhere to the recommendations of the Port Master Plan Update (2008).
His words: "In order to address some of the development challenges of the Port, the Authority has series of upgrading and rehabilitation projects whilst the objective is to improve the Port's operational standards, customer service delivery, and to cater for the present and anticipated increase in cargo throughput and vessels calls in the year that lie ahead."
He said that the financial performance of the GPA in the year under review has been satisfactory, adding that despite the satisfactory performance of the productive base of the economy, economy shocks including increasing fuel prices, the fierce inter-port competition within the sub-region and trends in global trading environment, the Authority's overall financial position continues to be sound and healthy.
Bah further stated that, pursuant to improving the Port's operations and throughput capacity, attracting new shipping lines, and improving ships turnaround time, the Port also continues to upgrade its facilities and infrastructure and the procurement of additional cargo handling equipment.
To this end, he said the Authority purchased one reach stacker in 2009 followed by others in 2010 at a cost of over D45M without recourse to loans. He mentioned that in 2011also, Board approval was sought and obtained for procurement of trailers at a total estimated cost of D66.2M while the contract agreements with the suppliers for the construction and deliveries of this cargo handling equipment are expected to be signed in early 2012.
He added that in a bid to enhance efficiency and productivity levels, the management is also responsive and committed to supporting the general welfare of all members of staff.
Samba JB Tambura, assistant compliance officer at GPPA, said that GPA was found to be fully compliant with the Public Procurement Act.
The Joint Session of PAC/PEC then raised recommendations, questions, concerns and suggestions before finally adopting the report.