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Friday, April 13, 2012
Gambia Postal Services to redundant some staff with NAWEC tariff increment
Some staff of the Gambia Postal Services
(Gampost) may be redundant when the 33% tariff increment proposed by the National Water
and Electricity Company (NAWEC) finally comes into effect.
Gampost Managing Director Momodou Ceesay
has said if the proposed 33% tariff increment by NAWEC is effected, his
institution, which pays huge electricity bill to the utility company, will be
adversely affected and might lead to the laying-off of some his staff , or a
passing-over cost of it to users of his
Mr Momodou Ceesay, MD Gampost
Gampost currently pays D1million for
electricity annually, which “is too high”, so an increase by 33% means an
additional burden of D330,000 and a total cost of D1,330,000 the national postal
service will have to be paying for electricity annually.
“Where do we get the additional
D330,000,” the Gampost managing director asks rhetorically at a March 17 Public
Hearing held this year at the Father Farell Hall at Westfield, organised by the
Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to gauge public comments on the
proposed tariff increment by NAWEC to 33%
on electricity, water and sewerage services.
when the new tariff comes into effect, I have two options: either to increase
the cost of postal services, or to reduce the number of staff,” the Gampost MD
“If I opt for the latter, this will have
negative impacts on my staff because there are other people who are depending
on each of them given the fact that the dependency ratio in this country is
According to the Gampost MD, electricity
is a human right and considering the fact that average salary in
The Gambia is
D1,300 and an average Gambian spends D500 to D600 on electricity; increasing
electricity cost again will have a huge negative impact on the people –
logically denying them electricity, which is a basic need.
“I think NAWEC has to look at the increment from many angles,”
remarked Mr Ceesay, whose organisation provides a variety of mail services,
including delivery of letters, packets and parcels and also provides some
financial services to the general public such as maintaining savings accounts
and conducting money transfer service via Western Union.
Like the Gampost MD, more than 95% of the people, ranging from
private individuals to proprietors, who spoke at the public hearing, all
rejected the tariff increment expressing deep concern over the consequences of
hiked electricity tariff which will impact negatively on almost all walks of
The public hearing was meant to obtain
public comments on the proposed tariff increment to enable PURA - which has the
legal powers to determine, review, approve, modify or refuse NAWEC’s application - to arrive at a decision to pass the final judgment on whether or
not to increase.
When the floor was opened by the moderator of the occasion, Malick
Jones of GRTS, for comments on the proposed increment, Gambia Workers
Confederation Secretary General Pa Modou Faal, who was the first to take the
microphone, vehemently denied the proposed increment.
Another concerned citizen reminded NAWEC of the promise they made at
the last public hearing forum to improve their services after the last proposed
utility tariff increment would have been effected.
“After the tariff was increased - against the will of the people -
NAWEC has not improved on its services; rather its services have been deteriorating,
and today they are still asking us again to buy the same promise for possible
electricity tariff increment again,” businessman Mafugi Kinteh said.
The managing director of
NAWEC, Ebrima Sanyang, reiterated that when the tariff is approved, and they
are able to maintain substantial cash flow they would be in a position to
purchase adequate spare parts of generators, conduct timely maintenance, and embark
on sustainable expansion, to provide services that will meet the needs of the
Nani Juwara, commercial director of NAWEC, said the rationale
behind the proposed tariff
increment is based on the fact that current tariffs are insufficient to sustain
NAWEC’s operational obligations due to rising cost of inputs, such as fuel,
lubricants, and spare parts.
“So the only option
available is to increase the tariffs; otherwise the company’s operations will
not be sustainable,” Mr Juwara argues.
Aja Haddy Jobe, who was among the very few people to concur with
NAWEC for tariff increase in 2011, again reiterated that she would accept the
latest proposed tariff increment “because the world is developing and the
prices of goods are as well increasing globally; so I think it is only right
for NAWEC to increase to be able to continue its operations”.
“I am a patriotic citizen so I support the move again,” Haddy remarked.