21 November 2012

Gambia: GRTS Deducts 5.2 Million Dalasi From Staff

The Reports of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) submitted to the joint session of Public Accounts and Enterprises Committees PAC/PEC of the National Assembly has yesterday revealed the level of financial bankruptcy affecting the national broadcaster.

"The records show that the GRTS needs serious help, if it was another institution it would be declared bankrupt", said Hon. Lamin K Jammeh, member for Illiasa.

The Illiasa National Assembly Member (NAM) noted that the institution is having trade debtors of D21 million in 2011. He argued that the institution would find it difficult to make it even after recovering the debt. He emphasized the need for the national broadcaster to conduct a survey on its viewers to improve the programmes it broadcast.

"The GRTS should train its reporters on Parliamentary reporting, the most important part of our sessions are left out. We are left at the mercy of the editors who decide what should be broadcast", he pointed out.

Hon. Jammeh further complained about the deduction of the staff for Social Security, tax and GAMTEL Union fees which was not paid. He questioned the whereabouts of the deducted money which amounts to D5.2 million.

"Most of our debtors are government departments", disclosed Mr. Marcel Thomasi, Chairman Board of Directors.

Chairman Thomasi explained the problem of government departments making advertisements or programmes without paying anything. He gave an example of politicians who would ask the Director General to cover certain occasions for them. He said the institution would pay for the transport, fuel and materials to cover the programme.

The GRTS Board Chairman also complained about the amount of debts that the GSM companies owe them. He complained that the debts of the GSM companies are a contributing factor regarding the financial bankruptcy of the national broadcaster. He said they engaged PURA on the problem but they are waiting for a feedback.

"I think it is very important to conduct a survey on our viewers about the programmes we broadcast but it requires money which we did not have", he said.

Chairman Thomasi agreed that the National Assembly needs a special type of reporting such as court reporting. He said they would see from their resources for specialize report training for their reporters.

However, Alh. Modou Sanyang, the Director General of GRTS, earlier mentioned the challenges facing the institution. He complained about the problem of production which, he said, is seriously affecting them. He complained about the problem of resources and called for the increment of the subvention or user fees.

DG Sanyang highlighted what he said are the developments or achievements of his institution in 2011. He commended the Gambian leader for single handedly helping the institution throughout the year.

The external auditors from the AA Chartered Accounts have made several observations and recommendations for the financial performance of the institution. The representative of the Gambia Public Procurement Agency (GPPA) has reviewed that the institution was substantially compliant with the GPPA regulations. Subsequently, the report was adopted by the committees.

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