On Friday, Seedy Keita, The Gambia’s Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, presided over the official inauguration of the newly established State Owned Enterprise Regulatory Commission, which is aimed at enhancing accountability and efficiency in the operations of the SOEs in the country.
The six-member Commission has Ousainou Ngum as Chairperson and comprises Baboucarr Sompo Ceesay, Adama Deen, Cecilia Baldeh, Amie Njie, and Sagarr Twum. They have come to the Commission with vast experience and expertise in their professional backgrounds.
The Commission is mandated to ensure that SOEs adhere to the highest governance standards while contributing effectively to the country’s economic growth and development.
According to a World Bank report released last year, The Gambia has significantly progressed in reforming the SOEs. However, significant efforts are still needed to establish a sound, efficient, and financially sustainable SOE sector.
Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Seedy Keita revealed that State Owned Enterprise Asset Value stands at D34 billion. However, he said most of them are struggling financially as their performance is weak.
He welcomed the new Commission as another Transformative agenda and was impressed by the composition of the Commission.
Minister Keita further acknowledged the support of development partners, such as the World Bank and IMF, to the reform agenda.
In realizing the expectations from the SOEs, he said it would be different from usual, as he urged the SOEs to cooperate with the Commission.
In March this year, the government signed a Performance Contract agreement with three SOEs: GNPC, GPA, and Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation.
Bai Madi Ceesay, Director, Directorate of the State Owned Enterprise, Ministry of Finance, said the oversight functions of the Commission entail fiscal and governance oversight, among others.
The new Commission has a big responsibility to overturn the SOEs’ performance, something Ousainou Ngum, Chair of the Commission, is quite aware of.
He thanked and commended the President and the Ministers for their trust and promised to live up to expectations.
The establishment of the Commission emanates from the SOE Bill, passed by the Parliament and assented by the President. It is hoped the Commission will realize the intended purpose for its creation.