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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The proposed privatization of Gamcel: Is the minister proving his critics right?

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Dear editor,
After winning unflinching support from Gambians in his second term presidency bid, President Adama Barrow created two new ministries in his recent cabinet set up which includes; the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy currently headed by Hon. Ousman Bah.

According to the Standard, Minister Bah said Gamcel is in a critical situation that needs urgent attention. I am of the view that the Minister’s decision was triggered by this said situation he found at the company.

However, the issue of raising the privatization of Gamcel by the minister at this stage is too simplistic and premature because he is new in the system and such adventures require proper evaluations.

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Privatization is the last thing we should expect from him as he should explore all means and avenues within his limits to revamp the seemingly dead company.

To achieve this aim, the minister needs to think out of the box, innovate and accelerate efficiency through collaborative efforts instead of hypothetically relying on a politically constituted management whose commitment to service delivery is hanging in the air.

If you can’t provide an urgent solution to this situation other than privatization, please resign. We can’t afford to have another Ebrima Sillah, who had been abdicating his immediate responsibility in this important ministry. The latter spent the last three years defending the wrongs and political interests of the President instead of mapping out strategies to solve the situation at Gamcel during his tenure.

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Minister Bah’s comment affirmed the theory of Financial Behaviors which asserts that rather than being rational and calculating, people often make financial decisions based on emotions and cognitive biases. Hon Bah, your statement is no different from this theory.

Yes, privatization provides revenue for the government but this is normally a one off-benefit. However, this means the country will lose future dividends from the company in their profit-making endeavours.

Not limited to only that, externalities are normally not considered by private firms as profit-making takes precedence over social benefits.

Undoubtedly, currently, Gamcel is the cheapest GSM Company in the country because; the government gives more attention to social benefits than profit-making. Mr Bah, are you trying to openly deny us that opportunity?

You have expressed your desire for the company to be taken over by a Gambian, I wish to remind you that; at the rate at which technology is evolving, private firm owners use incentives to introduce new technology to increase labour productivity and lay off surplus workers and sell at higher prices; so it doesn’t matter. Whether a Gambian takes over the company or not, employees’ job security will be highly at risk.

Please! Bring back the glory of Gamcel; which will enable the government to set a price based on social factors which shall be for the wider interest of people instead of your disingenuous thought.

Ebrima Jarra,
BSc; Islamic Banking and Economics,
Aljamdou Village

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