The members of the National Assembly, yesterday, unanimously passed a Bill to repeal the enabling Act of The Gambia Public Transport Corporation (GPTC) by disbanding the Company from operation.
"The main objective of this bill is to repeal the Enabling Act of the GPTC and pave the way for winding down the Corporation," revealed Mr. Francis Liti Mboge, the Minister of Works, Communication and Infrastructure.
Minister Mboge, in his statement, told deputies that the Corporation has been dysfunctional for a considerable period. He said the government is conscious of its commitment to provide public transport for socio economic development of the country. He further revealed that plans are afoot for the revival of this mode of transport in line with the objectives of the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).
"Due consideration has been given to the interests of the employees, salaries and wages have been paid consistently. Presently, there are no pay arrears. It is envisaged that through a collective bargaining mechanism, the employees would be given a reasonable severance package," he disclosed.
According to Minister Mboge, the creation of the Corporation in 1976 facilitated the provision of public road transport and school bus service in the country. He said the bus services were funded from internally generated funds while the school bus was maintain by Government subvention. He revealed that the Corporation slid into serious financial and operational difficulties in the 90s. He said the bus fleet was aging, revenue earnings declined continuously while lack of investment aggravated the situation.
"A business entity must either maximize revenue or cut costs to remain solvent. With the GPTC, neither option was possible. The decision was therefore made to disband the Corporation," said the Communication Minister.
The bill was seconded by the Majority Leader, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the member for Serrekunda East. He argued that the bill was not controversial and urged the members to support it. Subsequently, several interventions were made by members in support of the bill.
Meanwhile, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, the Speaker of the National Assembly earlier informed the members that the extra-ordinary session was summoned upon request of the president of the republic in accordance with powers vested on him. He reiterated that the bill was not controversial. Subsequently, the Assembly passed the Repeal of the GPTC Bill.