The Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority presented before the Finance and Public Accounts Committee statement of accounts and to subject matter specialist for consideration and adoption.
The Committee flagged pertinent issues relating to the Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority’s income generating capacity which prompted the issue of the Gateway. Members sough clarification on the modus operandi of the gateway. The institution board emphasized the reason for the liberalization of the gateway amid the fact that it was not yielding substantial profit as opposed to previous years given the rapid growth of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile service providers also providing internet facilities which has caused an increase in the use of mobile data causing a major decline in the regular calls where every call is regulated by the authority and levied a specific charge.
Questions were also asked on the debt recovery modalities set forth by the institution. PURA has set up strong debt recovery mechanisms, institutions that are in their debt have the option of agreeing to a payoff for liquidation or payment done in the form of installments with specific amounts paid upfront followed by the installments. The institution has also developed a concise Performance Management Framework (PMF) to ensure effective performance check.
The committee revealed the unavailability if the existence of a strategic plan for the institution. It was reported by the board that the institution is currently the PURA Act to ensure it has the mandate to collect licenses fee which is still being collected by the Government.
Questions arose regarding the granting of licenses to public service provider institutions and the proximity of gas stations to dwelling houses in certain locations which has fueled the occurrence of fire outbreaks of recent. The institution raised the challenge in the breakage in the line of communication between them and fiscal planning who on numerous circumstances issues licenses even before the authority acts without prior consultation.
The Management Letter emanated from the external auditors flagged contentious audit in respect of Staff Personnel File ranging from incomplete staff certificate of character, job description and other relevant documentations. Compliance report from the Gambia Procurement Authority for the year 2019, 2020 & 2021 are unavailable.