Friday, November 23, 2012

Gambia national broadcaster in serious financial problem


National Assembly would have advised the institution to be closed down and declared it bankrupt

The national broadcaster, Gambia Radio and Radio and Television Services, is in huge financial mess as its total liability, the amount it owed to other individuals and institutions, at the moment are three times more than the total current assets, all its belongings, implying a serious liquidity problem.

The director general of the institution, Alhagie Momodou Sanyang, has cried for government’s swift intervention to enable the GRTS to operate effectively and efficiently saying that more needs to be done to sustain the financially weak national institution. 

GRTS faces grave challenges despite registering modest achievements in 2011, the DG Sanyang acknowledged while presenting the 2011 activity report and financial statements of the GRTS on 20th November at the National Assembly for scrutiny by the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise committees who are currently inspecting the annual activity reports and audited financial statements of all public enterprises and agencies of The Gambia government since 1st October this year.

However, he said, much more needs to be done especially in terms of funding to ensure the sustainability of the national broadcaster.

Despite the financial predicament of the politically monopolized national institution, Mr Sanyang said the Board of Directors, Management and entire workforce of GRTS are all fully committed to ensuring the successful realisation of the mandate of the national broadcaster.

Hon. Lamin Kebba Jammeh, NAM for Illiasa Constituency, said GRTS needs help to get out of the problem that they are faced with.  He pointed out that if it was another institution, they (the PAC/PEC – the two giant committees of the National Assembly) would have advised for it to be closed down and declare it bankrupt.

Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, the Speaker of the National Assembly, said the legislative house cannot sit down and see GRTS sinking, hinting the Lawmakers will do everything humanly possible within their powers to avert the potential threat that is facing GRTS. 

Losses over D12 million

Further compounding GRTS’s financial woe is the gross operation loss of D12.5 million that it registered in 2011.  The loss is basically due to the increased in the cost of electricity and water by the national water and electricity supplier, NAWEC; increment of staff cost; frequent and high cost of travel of the staff; depreciation charged on fixed assets; and unpaid services rendered in 2011.

Also further compounding the national’s broadcaster’s financial trouble is the debts owed to institution by some individuals and companies.  The debt continued to increase over the years from D15.509 million at 31st December 2008 to D18.008 million as at 31st December 2010, and now D21.357 million at 31st December 2011, a report has revealed.

The annual report and financial statements of the institution confirmed that the corporation has a lot of income tied down in debts, which could affect its operational viability through cash flow problems.

“The situation is truly alarming and, undoubtedly, will continue to affect our operational viability through cash flow problems,” the Finance Director of the GRTS, Lamin Ceesay, said.

He said the GRTS registered a turnover of D70 million in 2011 compared to 54.3 million in 2010.

However, the total expenditure of the institution also increased to D83.9 million for the period under review due to increase in staff, operational cost, and unpaid services among others. 

At the end of the day, the PAC/PEC adopted the activity report and financial statements of the GRTS giving the financially weak national institution at tap at the back for despite the financial problems the institution is trying all it can to do what it is supposed to do.

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