In an extra-ordinary meeting yesterday, deputies at the National Assembly approved the repeal of the Gambia Public Transport Corporation (GPTC) Act 1976, thus paving the way for the disbanding of the GPTC.
The bill, tabled before deputies by Francis Liti Mboge, Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, seeks to among others repeal the enabling Act of the GPTC, and thus pave the way for winding down the corporation and, in the process, cut the losses that have been accruing to the public purse.
An Act passed by parliament created the Gambia/Libya Arab Public Transport Corporation in 1976. This Act was amended during the 1987/1988 fiscal year and it brought about the establishment of the Gambia Public Transport Corporation (GPTC).
The major aims of the corporation, as prescribed by the legislation, were to “operate and maintain the public transport services of The Gambia for the conveyance of passengers and goods”.
In moving the motion, Works, Construction and Infrastructure Minister Mboge told parliament that the creation of the GPTC in 1976 facilitated the provision of public road transport services, as well as a school bus service in the country.
According to him, the scheduled bus services were funded from internally generated funds, while the school bus service was maintained through an annual subvention from Government.
“In the decade of the 1990s, however, the corporation slid into financial and operational difficulties. The bus fleet was aging, revenue earnings declined continuously while a lack of investment aggravated the situation,” he told deputies, adding that a business entity must either maximize revenue or cut costs to remain solvent.
With the GPTC, he went on, neither was possible and the decision was, therefore, made to disband the corporation. He stated that due consideration has been given to the interests of the employees.
Noting that although the corporation has been dysfunctional for a considerable period, salaries and wages of employees have been paid consistently adding that, presently, there are no pay arrears.
Mboge further told deputies that it is only prudent that we must look to the not too distant future for realizing our dreams with regard to public transport.
“It is important to note in this regard that Government is ever conscious of its commitment to provide public transport for the socio-economic development of the country,” he said, noting that plans are afoot for the revival of this mode of transport in line with the objectives of the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).
Deputies, who all spoke during the session, welcomed the move.