The present dispute between our Transport Unions has nothing to do with either officials of the Gambia Government or their Senegalese counterparts. Its purely a GTSC matter.. So far we only hearing the side of the story from GTSC which is nothing but unconvincing.
According to reliable sources, the number of GTSC buses plying the Dakar-Banjul route have surreptitiously been increased from two to three buses- some are even saying to four- following the commissioning of additional 20 buses by GTSC last month.With this increase, commercial drivers in the Senegalese border of Karang started realizing a sharp drop in the number of passengers they used to transport to and from Dakar.They attributed this decline to the sudden increase in the number of GTSC buses thus crowding out their pool of passengers.
Some of the Senegalese commercial drivers affected by the increase decided to indiscriminately block the traffic for all commercial vehicles from Banjul. Those authorities at the GTSC with hidden agenda and wishing to escalate the matter, started agitating the transport union in the Gambia to get involved. A so-called “evidence-gathering” trip was organized by the general manager who also joined the trip to assess the situation knowing the obvious outcome of such a trip, the purpose was solely aimed at inciting those leaders of the transport union who were in the bus with the GTSC management to reciprocate with a similar action. Thus elevating the crisis to national level.
GTSC is an investment outlet of SSHFC. They are only accountable to the managing director of the Social Security who is also doubling as the Chairman of the Board. As a result of this arrangement they are required to be monitored by the PEC committee of the National Assembly and nobody knows how much revenue they generate in any given year. They produce no financial information and are not subject to any external audits.
This government should be very careful about the motives of Mr. Kanyi especially now we know he is an ardent UDP member. In January 2020, GTSC received 20 additional buses bought by its parent company, SSHFC. Since the Dakar route is the most profitable for the transport company, they decided to increase the fleet of buses plying that route without being mindful with the consequences of crowidng out Senegalese commercial vehicles running the same route.
As far as our statutory records can confirm, GTSC is not a registered public enterprise, it is an investment outlet of SSHFC. The Act that established Gambia Public Transport Corporation (GPTC), its predecessor company, was repealed in 2012 by the former Jammeh government.
In the books of SSHFC, GTSC is just an other investment similar to the investment made in Ocean Bay hotel. But since it is offering useful transport service to the public, its activities falls under the purview of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure. However, the parent company SSHFC is under the line minsitry of Finance. This is a serious structural challenge that government must address by restructuring the GTSC and make it more accountable to the public.
This dispute has all the hallmark of a politically motivated crisis aimed at causing havoc between Senegal and the Gambia. Seedy Kinteh and Lawyer are from the same village of Dobo in Bansang.
Written by: Morro Gaye
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