28 January 2013

Gambia: Parliament Adopts Gampost Report

The activity report and financial statements of the Gambia Postal Services Corporation (Gampost) was on Tuesday considered and adopted by members of the Public Accounts and Enterprises Committees PAC/PEC of the National Assembly at the Legislative Chambers in Banjul.

"Gampost continues to invest in our key area which is the extensive branch network to improve service quality and brand image,

" asserted Mr. Phoday M. Jaiteh, Officer-in-Charge of the Corporation.

Mr. Jaiteh in his presentation before the deputies acknowledged the institutional transformation of his corporation. He reveals that the communication market has experienced dramatic evolution following the development of digital technology. He also revealed the refurbishing of eleven office structures with the inauguration of three new offices in Bwiam, Brusubi, and Wassu respectively.

"As part of our operational strategy, we plan to accord face-lifts to Farafenni and Basse, and refurbish Serrekunda Branch. We will add two more outlets to the office network in Bansang and Brikama-ba", he disclosed.

The Gampost boss made mention of electronic substitute to physical mail as diversification is imperative for long-term survival in the postal industry. He comments on the bilateral agreements on the development of postal services and accessibility to financial services, and in particular money transfer between African Postal Administrations. He mentioned the ongoing Universal Postal Union (UPU) and Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU) regional projects.

"Gambia Postal Services Corporation and SN La Post Du Senegal signed a bilateral agreement on 1st October 2010 to enable the two parties put in place a common money transfer service under the 'International Express Money Order' (IEMO) Label", he revealed.

Mr. Jaiteh revealed that there are plans to replicate the same initiative in other countries in the sub-region such as Guinea Conakry, Mali and Mauritania. He mentions plans to access the remittance to payments services and savings accounts for rural women and farmers.

"Gampost operates in regions and areas where the profit-oriented commercial banks would not venture, such as Bwiam, Kerewan, Kaur, Wassu, and Janjangbureh. However, as part of the broader government Civil Service framework, Gampost is there to provide public services to the people", he said.

The Gampost boss mentioned the incursion of private courier operators into their traditional mail service market which he said has contributed to the development of the Express Mail Service (EMS). He revealed that preliminary discussions with DHL are ongoing with the aim of signing a win-win MOU to airlift their outbound express mails. He revealed that 12 of the 14 branches have already been connected to the world-wide-web.

"Lack of a postal address system continues to present difficulties in mail delivery service. It is our plan to continue engaging stakeholders, other players in the industry and UPU through the Quality of Service Fund (QSF) to map out and implement a postal code system for the country", he pointed out.

However, he revealed that the external auditors observed among other things that there was no CCTV coverage at the cash and teller area and the savings bank software installed is not working adequately as balances sitting on accounts are not in line with the customer's passbooks, although periodic maintenance fees are paid to the suppliers of the software.

He also finally noted that the auditors also noted that amounts of up to D200,000 are being physically moved from one location to another by motorbike riders, with money put in plastic bags without security personnel escort. He added that they further observed a tax liability of D5, 247, 389 which is yet to be paid to the tax authorities over the years.

In response to some of the issues observed, management said some payments have been made towards the tax liability, and that Gampost also intends to expand CCTV coverage in the future.

Meanwhile, Lamin K. Barrow, a compliance officer from the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said Gampost was found to be fully compliant with Public Procurement Act and Regulation. Subsequently, several interventions, observations and recommendations were made by the NAMs and Subject Matter Specialists but finally adopted the report.

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