14 February 2013

Gambia: Stakeholders Brainstorm On Prospects, Opportunities of Public-Private Partnership

Stakeholders drawn from both the public and private sector Wednesday converged at the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa Hotel in Bijilo for a daylong forum on the theme; 'Prospects and Opportunities of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in The Gambia'.

Organised by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with the Gambia Import and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), the forum was meant to discuss how to forge a partnership between the public and private sectors.

The interface forum was part of the continuous advocacy, as officials believe that public-private partnership is one of the most credible alternatives to further development because it is all about bringing development.

Speaking at the forum, Almami Fanding Taal, chief executive officer (CEO) of GCCI who made a presentation on Advocacy and Designs of PPP, said the discussion on development and development assistance has for a long time been dominated by ideologies in a way hijacked by the public sector.

He stressed the need for smart solution and development, noting that PPP has the advantage for government in the areas of resource mobilisation, access to expert skills, increased efficiency, and would also ease the burden on public budgets, and improve delivery of services, among others.

Dilating on the benefits of PPP, Taal said it include access to markets, job creation, and potential commercial gain, among others. He therefore called for a well-planned PPP to sustain the economic growth that benefits all sectors of the population.

He also stated the need to advocate for PPP until when they have a framework in place. "Of course having the framework or the law in place doesn't mean all sectors will be successful, but would start the process where serious business leaders will consider service that are well suited for the public," he further remarked, adding that PPP is not a new word, but that they want a framework that will work for everyone.

Commenting on the notion held by many that the private sector only wants to make profit, the GCCI CEO said the private sector wants to give the people value for their money. He then called for a well-strengthened partnership between the two sectors for mutual benefit and for national development.

In his welcoming remarks, Muhammad M. Jagana, president of GCCI, described the forum as important and timely, while thanking all those who attended the forum.

For his part, Mod K. Ceesay, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, thanked GCCI for organising the forum, while reiterating government's commitment and recognition of the need for PPP, something he said is an option for addressing financial problems.

He said the government cannot do it alone, and therefore called for partnership with the private sector in the attainment of the PAGE and Vision 2020.

Others who made presentations on the PPP included Momodou Drammeh, director of Enterprise Support at GIEPA, who deliberated on PPP Investment Opportunities in The Gambia; and Mustapha Yarboe, director of Administration and Finance at the RVTH, who spoke on the PPP Models and Strategies.

The forum, which wrapped-up with a question and answer session, was moderated by Benjamin Roberts, director general of the Gambia Tourism Board.

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