The theme for this year's dialogue is – ‘Customers and Cyber Crime in the Digital Era’. The nationwide dialogue was meant to raise awareness on crucial issues including customers' rights and protection against abuse of all sorts.
Its flagship programme dubbed -The Bantaba, which is in its fourth year, is designed specifically to afford the authority the opportunity to hear complaints and challenges encountered by utilities’ service consumers with a view to finding lasting solutions.
At a closing ceremony held at Fass Njaga Choi in the North Bank region, Yusupha M. Jobe, Director General of PURA, said the authority as a regulatory body is always delighted to see service consumers happy and appreciative of the services they consume.
"Our role as regulators and enforcers is anchored on the relevance of seeing public utility service customers are happy, knowing that these services are very critical for any livelihood," Jobe stated.
The Bantaba, he added, is one of the best creations in drawing up a fair balance between rural and urban service consumers in terms of reaching quality and accessibility.
Jobe indicated that the feedback received from the tour is very important and relevant to the Authority, as it would help them strategise for improved and quality service delivery to the public.
He promised to replicate the outlook of the Bantaba into a virtual platform, targeting more service consumers.
DG Jobe also expressed gratitude to both customers and service providers for their meaningful participation throughout the public outreach engagement.
"In future, we will endeavour to have other service providers we regulate such as the Petroleum sector to participate. This will help us to generate as many feedback as possible from the public."
Mr. Solo Sima, Director Consumer Affairs at PURA explained that the Authority is highly passionate about the Bantaba flagship programme. The programme is rolling out to the public in a bid to make quality services available, accessible and affordable to all irrespective of their locations.
He acknowledged that Bantaba really helps service providers to effectively get feedback directly from the public with the ultimate aim of improving service delivery system in the country.
The liberalisation drive, Sima argued, has explicitly brought about massive expansion and innovation in the service development offers to the public.
Mr. Yaya B. Baldeh, Corporate Affairs Manager at PURA said the nationwide tour has availed service providers the opportunity to interface with service consumers to unravel their challenges and concerns for consideration.
"The tour accorded service providers ample opportunity to hear first-hand the plight of consumers, and it is our hope that the experience will inspire positive thinking for improved service provision," Baldeh said with optimism.
The 4th Edition of Bantaba Outreach, rolled out by The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) squarely unearthed first-hand the challenges faced by the public from GSM operators and NAWEC, who served as partial observers.
Expectations are that with this interface, utilities service providers will accordingly enhance and improve their services to meet public demands in terms of quality, affordability and accessibility.