Assalamoualaikum. Ah-Unzu Billahi Mina Saitani Rajeem. Bismilaahi Rahmani Raheem. Alhamdulil laahi Rabil Haalameena.
Your Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagi Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh President of the Republic of The Gambia represented by, Hon Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure- Hon Bala Garba Jahumpa, Honorable Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and Minister of Presidential Affairs- Represented by the Deputy Secretary General, Hon. Sulayman Samba, Honorable Cabinet Ministers present here, Permanent Secretaries present here, the Director General GCCA, The Governor Western Region (WR), The MP Western Region, The Paramount Chief, The Alkalo Yundum Village, Invited guests from all sectors, Ladies and Gentlemen; on behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of GIA, I welcome you all to Banjul International Airport (BIA).
It is incredibly humbling for me to stand before you as the Chairman of The Gambia International Airlines (GIA) to give a brief statement this morning to address such a distinguished audience during such an important occasion in the annals of GIA witnessing the laying of the foundation stone for an ultra modern corporate headquaters for GIA.
The audacity of hope and a bold and daring vision has culminated in our convergence once again for the laying of the foundation stone for this -USD2.1 million GIA Corporate Complex. This is yet another historical and groundbreaking achievement in the continuing transformation of GIA and a testimony to the socio-economic transformation and significant progress registered by the management and staff of the GIA and our country under the guidance and leadership of His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhagi Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia.
This ultra modern complex, which will be constructed by the Lerr Group, will undoubtedly enhance the façade of our International Airport and will provide appropriate and modern working space for the management and staff of GIA and the Airport. This we hope will further motivate our staff and all stakeholders to double their efforts to improve service delivery and process innovations to accelerate the urgent transformation of GIA, enhance productivity and performance.
On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of The Gambia; it is my pleasure and honor to extend to His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, on behalf of myself and the members of the GIA Board, Management and staff of GIA, our most sincere congratulations and best wishes for prosperity and peace for our peoples and country.
As we all continue to reflect deeply on our 50 years of independence from British rule and renew our commitment and services to the continued and sustained progress of our country, May the Almighty Allah make our next 50, 100, and beyond years of enhanced peace, greater love and care for one another and country, a “Godly nation”, happiness, contentment, prosperity and good values for us all, with accelerated and broader socio-economic progress and development further lifting us all.
We should all be thankful and proud of all those who contributed publicly and privately to efforts that led to our independence and others whose efforts and contributions ensured gradual and sustained progress during the 50 years of independence. These men and women worked selflessly with very little, if anything at all, and helped us sustain gradual and continuous progress as a people and country during the 50 years of independence. Many of these men and women contributors are often forgotten or never mentioned! As we return thanks, we must remember and pray for all of them.
We have indeed come a long way since 1965 and do have longer ways to go, but, we have defied all odds and skeptics with the help of the Almighty and the collective effort to ensure our country registers significant progress during the 50 years of independence!
As we embark on post 50th Independence anniversary, we all look forward to a much stronger and greater progress as we embark on our renewed journey! The fact that our President and this Government is today laying the foundation stone for an ultra modern corporate complex for GIA is a testament that we have just embarked on that journey of greater progress as outlined by his Excellency in his 2025 Agenda of continuous and accelerated progress, during his statement at the 50th independence celebration. This significant and historic development will rejuvenate and enhance our Air Transport and the tourism sectors and will yield tremendous socio-economic benefits for our country. Thank You, Your Excellency, the President of The Republic of The Gambia.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This idea of a Corporate Complex was put forward by GIA management under the leadership of her former MD, Mr Bakary Nyassi and I shared the concept and vision for a futuristics coporate complex and the GIA board of Directors equally shared the vision and concept by endorsing it unanimously. The GIA board encouraged them to imbed appropriate revenue generating mechanisms within the building to ensure self-sustainability. This is the global norm where coporate facilities are designed in such a way that instead of being a burden to maintain, commercial features are included, which will help generate revenue to cover operational and maintenance costs.
Your Excellency, the management of GIA has always been responsive to the Board’s guidance in the urgent transformation needed to reposition GIA. Our duty as a Board is to guide management appropriately to be innovative, strategic, efficient and productive, to facilitate the exploration and delivery of optimal services for the benefit of this nation.
As the Acting Managing Director rightly stated, the structure is an eye catching artistic work and the day the design was presented by the consultant (the late Zakariah Sillah) of MasterPlan at a Board meeting held on Wednesday December 12, 2013. We, as a Board endorsed the designs unanimously with no objection.
I have seen many designs and have seen many of Mr. Zakaria’s brilliant works, which are visible and welcomed architectural artifacts across the country, but the GIA Corporate Complex he completed tops them all and is indeed a masterpiece.! My comment as Board chairman to him on that Wednesday was, “Bravo”, Brilliant Zak! This is the most brilliant work I have seen you completed! It’s almost perfect! Wow, Zak, Keep it up! We as a Board suggested he improve on the conference room to make it attractive for commercial purposes as the Business Centre, which will have an international standard conference hall, that is yet to be incorporated. He paused briefly and was quiet for a moment, overwhelmed with joy and appreciation of our comments. He responded and said with a nervous laughter, wow Prof., I am indeed honored by these comments and it means a lot to me, especially coming from you! Little that we all know that will be the last time we will see Mr Zakaria Sillah in this world.
Of course the genesis and reflections of this project, always brings very sad memories as the genius of a very promising architect, the late Zakariah Sillah, met his untimely death two days after finisihing and receiving the GIA Boards unanimous endorsement and approval and that is all the more reason why we as a Board and GIA Management are even more committed to ensuring that this building is constructed as envisioned with the expected standards and quality! We expect the contractor to live up to our expectations and deliver with the expected standards and quality.
Your Excellencies and Distinguished Guests
His Excellency, our President, tasked us to guide the Management of GIA to achieve their goals guided by H E’s development policies, and indeed we as a Board are committed to deliver as expected. In our strive to guide GIA to attain their goals, we always try to create an enabling environment. As the Director General of GCAA is a Board member, the GCAA allowed GIA’s Management flexibility within Banjul International Airport to exploit their potentials. This is in line with Public Sector Partnership needed for development.
As a Board, we know the key mandate of GIA is to fly our national colours but to do that we need financial and technical competence. Therefore, the current strategies of GIA focuses on building up the revenue base, boost her image and goodwill with such projects and develop competence to prepare for the ultimate objective of flying our own aircrafts. Once we successfully fulfill these strategies, even if GIA does not get all the required financial resources from within, it will be well positioned to attract investors to partner with us to realize our objectivs and plans. Therefore, this Corporate Building is in line with these strategies and as rightly stated it has a lot of financial benefits and cost savings.
Similarly, the much talked about ultra modern cargo complex is another project embedded in these current strategies. Is not only a source of revenue but it will give GIA in particular and the Banjul Internationa Airport (BIA) in general, the requisite image and security which is reason enough for any investor to partner with GIA.
We take the opportunity to thank all our stakeholders and our financial partners – the Office of The President, Zenith Bank, The Gambia, and my colleague Board members, GIA Management and staff for their continuing support and as we embark on this aggressive path towards repositioning GIA for the betterment of all.
We pray that Allah SWT bless this GIA Corporate Complex and for the management and staff to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders and it becomes a source of motivation, innovation, efficiency, productivity, high performance, yielding huge value for GIA and our nation.
We pray that the next inauguration will be our own national Airline Carrier, easing travel in the sub region and beyond!
I thank you all and May Allah continue to bless our country!]]>