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Gov't not considering Gamcel/Gampost amalgamation

Dec 13, 2010, 11:45 AM | Article By: Lamin B. Darbo

The minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Alagie Cham, recently told deputies at the National Assembly that the Gambia government is not considering the proposed amalgamation of the national cellular company Gamcel and Gampost as one public enterprise.

This followed a proposal by the member for Kiang Central, Babanding K.K. Daffeh, for the Ministry of Communication to consider amalgamating Gampost and Gamcel as one public enterprise, so as to increase, their revenue base, and services delivery.

According to Communication Minister Cham, this is an idea which government does not wish to consider, because both institutions are performing as expected under their current set-up.

"Both Gamcel and Gampost are profitable, and are financing their operations from internally generated revenues. Over the years, Gampost and Gamcel have increased service delivery standards and both are steadily increasing revenues through value-added services," he added.

Cham noted that considering the current competition in the mobile sector, there is need for Gamcel to focus on its core competence of providing mobile phone services to enable it to compete effectively with its competitors.

Responding to further questions as to what Gamtel, the national telecommunications company, is doing about the expansion project for the installation of telephone lines for new settlements, which are in need of telephones, Cham noted that Gamtel has made a decision to replace its existing obsolete switches and transmission network to a Next Generation Network (NGN), to enable the company to introduce new products and services.

"Gamtel is in the process of awarding the contract, which is expected to be completed within 18 months from signing," he said, adding that when completed, the project will allow Gamtel to expand its network and connect many more customers, including those in new settlements.

Also, during the same sitting, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sheriff Gomez, informed deputies thatD222,700 has been realised as revenue collected from fines for the use of mobile phones while driving, and failure to use seat belts. This, he added, dates from January 2010 to date.