By Tabora Bojang
Niamina Dankunku lawmaker Samba Jallow has accused government of misleading parliament over the liberalisation of the International Gateway, which he said has deprived the Gambia National Telecommunications Company Gamtel of its revenue base, leaving it in a ‘sad situation’.
According to Jallow, a veteran in the Assembly, government received a $25 million grant from the IMF in 2019 with a condition that the country’s international gateway be liberalised and government subsequently laid this agreement before lawmakers without informing them about the condition attached.
He said the Gateway was the principal revenue generating channel for Gamtel and depriving them from managing it amounts to rendering the company ineffective.
“It is very sad to see Gamtel in this manner. The company was very productive but nowadays, it is struggling and this Assembly must look into this. To my surprise a $25 million grant was tabled in this parliament in 2019 on condition by the IMF that the government must accept liberalising the gateway and then they [IMF] will disburse $25 million. This is sad. When I did my research, in 2019 when Gamtel was working with Global Voice, managing the International Gateway, they terminated 13 million minutes in 14 months and each minute was charged at $0.2 cent, generating net revenue of over $34 million. Again when Spectrum took over the management of the gateway they generated over $8 million. So, if Gamtel worked with international institutions to generate this huge amount of money, why accept a $25 million grant on a condition which this august assembly approved without being informed that this was the condition then. I think the government should work on this to ensure Gamtel regains it Gateway,” NAM Jallow reiterated.