By Alagie Manneh
A four-weeks training program for Board of Directors of State-Owned enterprises kicked-off Tuesday at the MDI in Kanifing.
The training is designed to reform these enterprises and its board directors in helping promote effectiveness and professionalism in executing their functions, following 22-years of ‘mismanagement and bad governance’ in state enterprises.
“The aim is for the boards to be more effective and professional,” the director of Public/Private Partnerships and Public Enterprises at the ministry of Finance said, Mustapha Samateh, said.
The two phase training is being conducted through the MDI with funding from the World Bank.
“We are looking to fast-track this change process. We have had 22-years of bad governance. Now, it is about good governance and this is still a transition, so it must start in the minds and in the processes and practices as well,” Samateh who was speaking on behalf of the deputy PS of Finance disclosed.
He added: “What you find in the past is… until now, people are appointed board members. They just give you a letter and say you are appointed board member for Nawec without any terms of reference or guiding documents. How do you expect these people to deliver? It is going to be difficult. They will only be guessing.”
The objective of the first phase, officials say, which ends on 26 April, is to train the Board of Directors of State-Owned Enterprises.
Training coordinator Bumi Camara, enunciated: “We all know several of our state owned enterprises suffered mismanagement and other issues in the past 22 years and now for the country to move there is a need to reconfigure and reengineer these state enterprises so that they are able to effectively deliver the services that they are supposed to. The starting point is to train the leadership, to bring the leadership of these state-owned enterprises together, so that they clearly understand and focus on objectives that will move our national development agenda forward.
According to Bumi, who also works as World Bank liaison officer, said this initiative does not only intend to bring together state enterprises, but have them discuss issues that are “very relevant to the enterprises that they serve as board members”.
“For example, if you talk about the board of Nawec, they will be there talking about issues of corporate governance, issues of transparency, accountability and leadership. Basically, they would be talking about how do we move Nawec, for example, in the New Gambia? How do we ensure that we deliver electricity as expected? The same thing happens in the board of Gamtel, and in the board of social security.
So all these things are really trying to ensure that they are able to deliver what they should to the people. So the training is focus on addressing those capacity gaps within our boards and ensuring they all have a common understanding as to how to pursue our other development agenda’s as a nation.”
13 state-owned commercial enterprises are taking part in the training, with at least around 95 participants .