The president of the Republic of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, who presided over the commissioning ceremony, said the accomplishment of the GPPC project is indeed a development, as it borders on both education and information communication technology (ICT).
He added that for various reasons, ICT is one of the critical enablers in the national development plan 2018-2021 for the realisation of access to basic services within the context of good governance and accountability.
“The exercise book production machine being commissioned today is worth about D50 million,” he confirmed.
According to him, by virtue of its mandate, GPPC is entrusted with the responsibility of providing efficient printing production services on a commercial basis, documents for or on behalf of government, public enterprises, NGO’s and the general public.
He added that the procurement of the printing machine to meet the country’s demand for exercise books clearly demonstrates his government’s total commitment for affordable and quality education for all.
For his part, the minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, disclosed that already the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the conference of principals have signed an MOU with the GPPC contracting them to print text books for all upper basic schools in The Gambia.
He added that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has already approved the first payment of D20 million to the GPPC, representing the works of 19 Gambian authors in various subjects whose books will be distributed to senior secondary schools across the country.
“This will surely reduce the import bill, particularly as they relate to exercise books. Through this, the government is creating more jobs and also pushing more Gambians to the middle ladder” he affirmed.
Momodou Ceesay, managing director of the Corporation, said the installation of the machine is a clear indication of the corporation’s resolve to meet the dire need of the country’s teeming population regarding the acquisition of exercise books in our schools and the wider public.
He disclosed that the Bilomatik P590 machine has the capacity of producing 18500 exercise books per hour on 4-ups and 22000 exercise books per hour on 5-ups maximum.
According to him, this tremendous achievement is not only expected to turn around the corporation’s production capacity and its revenue base, but also to put The Gambia on the map of exporting countries in the area of exercise books.