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MSA sold for US$1.3 Million

Dec 17, 2009, 12:37 PM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah & Alieu Jabang

The Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Abdou Kolley, has revealed that Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) has been sold for US$1.3m, equivalent to D34, 944, 0000, of which US$1.055, 914 (D28, 382, 968) has so far been paid by the buyer, leaving an outstanding balance of US$244, 086 (D6, 561, 032), which is expected to be paid in the forth quarter.

The Finance Minister was responding to a question posed by Hon. Momodou L.K. Sanneh, the Minority Leader and member for Kiang West, at the National Assembly on Tuesday, as of the term and condition under which MSA is given to UTSCO, and whether it was rented out or sold to them and its cost.

"Following the conclusion of the sales of Maintenance Service Agency (MSA) to Unique Transport Systems Company (UTSCO) on December 2008, the buyer UTSCO and the vendor (government of The Gambia) agreed that payment will be made quarterly and since then three successive payments have been made to Divestiture Fund Account, at the Central Bank," he told deputies.

According to him, "the first quarter payment received in February 2009 amounts US$350,000, second quarter payment received in June 2009 was US$355, 914 and third quarter payment received in October 2009 amounts to US$350,000 and the last subsequent payment would be received in due course."

On the question posed by Hon. Lamin Jadama, the member for Niamina West as to whether his ministry is taking any step to encourage the numerous Commercial Banks in The Gambia to introduce some degree of investment portfolio in the market, Minister Kolley said The Gambia has witnessed a marked growth in the number of financial institutions over the past years, adding that two banks were granted operating licence in 2009, thus increasing the number of banks to thirteen.

"The increase in the numbers enhances competitiveness and leading to private sector, including long-term lending," he said.

He added "During the twelve months ended September 2009, the industry balance sheet rose to D13.9million or 23.27% from a year earlier. Loans and advances rose from D3.3billion in September 2008 to 4.2b in September 2009, representing a growth of 28.09%. Lending to Agriculture, fisheries; Tourism and construction accounted for 24.13 of the total loans and advances."

When asked by Sedia Jatta, the member for Wuli West to give a breakdown of the sum accrued to the state in the form of royalties from the mining since the inception of the process in The Gambia, he said the proceeds from sand mining are put into a special account at the Central Bank and then distributed as follows:

50% to Brikama Area Council, 10% to National Environment Agency and 40% to the Geology Unit, the part of which goes to geology is used to pay salaries of the unit's temporal staff (inspectors) and other operation costs.

On the same day, the Vice-President, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, in answer to question posed by Sedia Jatta, informed deputies that a Deputy Minister is appointed under the provision of Section 80 of the 1997 Constitution, adding that he or she acts as an Assistant to the substantive Minister.

According to her, a Deputy Minister's salary and allowances were paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.