President Adama Barrow on Friday made an unannounced visit to the Gam-Petroleum storage facility at Mandinary village of the West Coast Region. The visit, officials said avails the president the opportunity to get first-hand information about the state of the fuel storage depot.
President Barrow during the visit also reaffirmed his government's continued commitment in ensuring that the site is massively improved and also expanded. The government, he went on, will equally enhance solid security and protection to the facility.
Barrow added: "There is a great need to solidly protect the facility so that it would be entirely managed by Gambians. We will do everything possible with a view to build the capacities of the staff for effective and efficient management."
An investigation team, he said, was set-up with the objectives of finding out what exactly was happening at the facility and how it was administered.
"In fact, after the investigation, there was an audit report that examined the number of staff working at the facility. However, we understand that there was a gap with regard to the position of a Human Resource Manager. Therefore, we immediately recommended the facility to be provided a competent human resources manager with a view to ensure effective services delivery."
"We want this place to be protected taking into account that it's a huge business and is managed by Gambians. Therefore, to move forward, we have to protect and secure this place that's why I am here."
During the president's visit at the facility, it was also revealed that the government spent $50 million for building the facility terminal which consists of 17 fuel tanks with a total storage capacity of 51,000 metric tons of heavy and light fuel oils as well as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).
"It was highlighted further that 19 loading bays for tanker trucks, a state of the art technology in gauging, a metering equipment, a fully equipped LPG bottling plant and 3 off- shore pipelines of 2.5 km each to access the draft for berthing big fuel tankers were included."
Meanwhile, Saihou Drammeh, the general manager of Gam-Petroleum, who spoke to our reporter at the side-line of the event said: "The facility made over 200 million dalasis as profits in 2020."
"The facility also facilitates a storage facility for onward supply within the sub-region especially in Mali, making it a key hub."
In 2020, he claimed, the company paid over D120 million to its major shareholders namely: Social Security and Gambia Ports Authority, making it one of the highest paying dividend pay-outs in The Gambia.
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