Pura tells service providers to up their game or face consequences

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By Alagie Manneh

The director general of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has warned service providers in the country that they need to be prepared for ‘fines’ and possible sanctions if they fail to provide ‘right services and quality’ for the Gambian population.

Yusupha M Jobe, in an expansive interview with The Standard in his office yesterday, said the days of “carrot giving” without sticks are over, and that all service providers including Nawec and other GSM operators must up the ante or swallow the pill.

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“The moment we start enforcing, and those who don’t abide by get hit with fines and fees, you will see things getting right,” DG Jobe stated. “And that’s where I am heading this year”.

He went on: “If you don’t do what you are supposed to do, to give the people the right service and quality, we will hit you with a fine and we will make sure that those people who suffered from it get the money or the fines, and correct their lives.

“Gambians are used to [being] just given carrots, carrots. Without a stick, nobody obeys. So, we need to balance it.”

In an hour-long interview, to be aired and published this Friday, Mr Jobe also gave an anecdote on why the prices of internet and telephone calls have become quite expensive in the country, among the highest in Africa.

He also rejected assumptions that the two biggest GSM operators in the country – Africell and Qcell – have undue influence over Pura, and therefore as a regulator, it may not be able to do its job properly.