Friday, May 6, 2016

Managing Director of GPA lets the cat out of the bag

Lamin Sanyang - MD of GPA
Since the borders between The Gambia and Senegal were closed to TransGambia traffic in mid-February following a 10,000% unilateral tariff increase, Jammeh and his sycophantic supporters have tried, unsuccessfully, we might add, to convince anyone who cares to listen, that the impact is disproportionately being felt by Senegal.

In fact, the few Jammeh supporters remaining - they are a dying breed - in the United States have taken the claim to ridiculously unbelievable levels of claiming that the brunt is being felt entirely by Senegal, especially in the Casamance.

These clueless supporters, taking their cue from an equally clueless leader who is presently fighting for his political life, have been trying to sell this bogus claim that the border closure is inconsequential to the treasury's bottom line to anyone who would listen to them - anyone but Lamin Sanyang who is Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority.

Responding to questions at a joint parliamentary committee this week and in a very refreshingly, candid style - an uncommon sight among Jammeh's senior managers - Mr. Sanyang informed the country that the border closure is a "scary"experience because of the devastating effect it is having on GPA's monthly revenue stream.

He admitted that although he cannot quantify how much revenue GPA was losing, but what he is certain of is that the he was losing D 6.6 million monthly in revenue at the TransGambia ferry services alone i.e from D 9 million to D 2.5 million representing 72% loss of revenue in the almost three months since the borders closed.  Revenues at the Banjul - Barra crossing have dropped from D 23 million to about half the amount or 50%.

This is not the entire story. The financial situation at the Ports Authority and everywhere else, it seems, in the Jammeh regime, is worse.  At the GPA, the 72% decline in revenue could be worse if you add the other revenue centers of the GPA such as the port facilities in Banjul where business has been slow as well.

Jammeh and his APRC propagandists have invested a great deal of effort in trying to convince Gambians that the border closure is more of a nuisance than a real threat to an economy. In a single session with the joint parliamentary committee, the Managing Director of the GPA managed to dispel the myth that Yaya Jammeh and APRC have been selling an unsuspecting public.

Mr. Sanyang also revealed an important piece of information that the regime has tried to ignore and that is the re-export trade died under the watch of Yaya Jammeh.  Although we disagree with the Managing Director regarding when the once lucrative trade was disseminated, he put the date at a decade ago instead of a couple of decades.

It was precisely in 1999 when under the late Finance Minister, Famara Jatta, when Jammeh selected a french pre-inspection firm named BIVAC with his father-in-law (Zeinab's father) as local agent that forced importers to have their container pre-inspected at a cost of $ 250 (to be paid in dollars) in contravention of Gambian law.

The resultant effect was a backlog of containers, creating a port congestion never experienced before.  Unfortunately, many businesses went bankrupt as a result of this very bad idea with those behind the scheme, including Jammeh, made off with all the loot.