By Tabora Bojang
The managing director of the Gambia National Petroleum Company, Baboucarr Njie, has said the lack of market ‘monopoly’ is a serious impediment in the corporation’s “business and progress.”
He explained that the corporation as a state-run enterprise is challenged by procurement bottlenecks, which is giving private competitors an edge over GNPC.
MD Njie was speaking at the presentation of GNPC activity report and financial statements for the year 2021 before members of the Public Enterprises Committee of the National Assembly Friday.
“Procurement has been a big challenge. The sector that we operate is a very peculiar sector. Unlike our sister parastatals like Social Security, Nawec and others which are monopolists, GNPC is not a monopolist. We compete with private businesses.
Procurement, supply and distribution of fuel is our lifeline and it is where we make our money but when you take a classic example with the likes of Jah Oil and Oryx they can see a very good deal in terms of supply of petroleum products and within an hour they can find out this deal and go for it. But because of GPPA procurement requirements we [GNPC] cannot make instantaneous decisions when it comes to procurement of fuel and this has posed a very significant challenge.”
Mr Njie said despite some new improvements which allow the corporation to do procurement subject to periodic reviews, the hurdle remains.
“Today if a vessel arrives or there is a potential vessel coming with a very substantial discount, GNPC cannot immediately act and buy the products because our hands are tied. But as for Jah Oil that restriction is no-existent, they can just call, confirm and get these products and because we [GNPC] are not a monopoly this is seriously impeding our business and our progress,” MD Njie lamented.
He said the GNPC is also challenged by problems of accessing strategic lands to expand business and coverage.
“We crave government’s intervention through this Committee for GNPC to be allocated strategic pieces of land for our network expansion which is something that we have decried and will continue talking about until it is resolved,” MD Njie said.