By Tabora Bojang
President Adama Barrow has said that his government is determined to strengthen the country’s public enterprises to generate and protect the much-needed revenue to fund national development.
He made these remarks yesterday as he presided over the inauguration of a D50 million exercise book printing machine at the Gambia Printing and Publishing Corporation annex in Kanifing.
The new machine has the capacity to print more than 20,000 exercise books per hour, with an expected annual revenue generation capacity of about D1 billion.
“Apart from enhancing the security of revenue materials, the machine will facilitate the auditing of public enterprises and increase revenue collection. This development should re-assure everyone of my government’s determination to generate and protect the much-needed revenue to fund our national development projects”, Barrow said in his inaugural speech.
He described the project as a ”milestone achievement” of his government as it borders on advancement of both education and ICT.
“The procurement of this giant printing machine to meet the country’s demand for exercise books, clearly demonstrates my government’s unwavering commitment to affordable and quality education for all. This project has come at a time when the impact of Covid-19 has brought about considerable delays in procuring goods and services from abroad. Consequently, having such a facility in the country will greatly help henceforth to guarantee timely provision of quality and affordable exercise books for our schools, the president added.
He further disclosed that as part of government support to GPPC the granting of an approval for the corporation to print educational supplementary text books written by the Writers Association and approved by MoBSE for use in Gambian schools for effective teaching and learning.
The GPPC Managing Director, Momodou Ceesay said the commissioning of the new machine is not only expected to turn around the Corporation’s production capacity and revenue base but also place the country as a leading exporter of exercise books in the sub-region.
“The corporation is confident that the installation of this project will boost our revenue and also meet the government stationery requirements,” Ceesay said, as he called for continuous support and collaboration from all partners.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah lashed out at individuals he described as “voices of prophets of doom and gloom” for “questioning why the president attended such an ordinary” event.
“Mr. President, we are happy you are here because it is your government that lifted the GPPC from its state of near collapse. When you took over the leadership of this great country in 2017, GPPC was on life support finding it difficult to meet its basic obligations but thanks to your leadership Cabinet came up with a number of directives to revive the institution. From today, Gambian authors will have their books printed locally at much cheaper price”, Sillah said.