PURA, in collaboration with service providers, government, various GSM operators across the country, as well as concerned citizens over the weekend hosted the 6th Consumer Parliament stakeholders' forum, held at the Monument at Westfield.
According to PURA officials, the forum was an extension of PURA's complaint resolution mechanism designed to put in place an impartial and effective consumer complaints resolution mechanism related to communications, electricity, water and sewerage and ISP services as mandated by the PURA Act 2001.
Speaking at the forum, Solo Sima, Director of Consumer Affairs at PURA, said the PURA Act requires the authority to ensure that its services are provided throughout the country and that the interest of all users of the regulated services are protected with respect to prices, quality and a variety of services, amongst other responsibilities.
It was in this vein, he said, that PURA organises events that consumers could come face-to-face with their service providers, in resolving their ongoing problems or interactions.
According to him, in the Greater Banjul Area it takes the form of consumer parliament, adding that in the rural areas, the format they rely upon works best as the oldest form of social networking known to all Gambians as "the Bantaba".
He said this they believe was perhaps the most suitable vehicle to create and raise more awareness of the rights of the consumer with regards to the sectors they regulate.
He explained that the capacity of the consumer parliament was to facilitate and create an opportunity for dialogue, partnership, clarification and bring to the attention of regulated entities any issues that consumers may have about their services or issues of commendable nature that they need to be commended for in their quest to deliver quality services across the length and breadth of the country.
Also speaking at the forum, Ansumana Sanneh, the Director General of PURA, stated that it was important that all participants or parliamentarians must express their views on the services they consume that are being regulated by PURA and provided for by the service providers.
According to him, PURA's work was to ensure that the Gambian consumer gets value for money, underpinned by the guiding principles of affordability, accessibility and availability.
He said PURA as the independent referee, was mandated to constructively engage all stakeholders in partnership and requisite decorum to resolve their mutual challenges for their mutual benefit.