PURA launches Consumer Parliament

Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on Saturday launched it first Consumer Parliament at the Paradise Suites Hotel.  

These new forum brought together service providers, - namely Africell, Gamcel, Comium, Gamtel, Nawec, Netpage, Quantumnet and Unique Solutions - and consumers. 

It is an extension of Pura’s complaint resolution mechanism.

In his keynote address, Musa Bala-Gaye, SoS for Finance and Economic Affairs said this is yet another important component of Pura’s consumer protection mechanism. 

“You will recall that in June of this year, the complaints resolution help desk and hotline - 148 was launched.  The entire strategy has been geared towards the promotion of an efficient service delivery in the country,” he stated.

SoS Bala Gaye noted that an important part of Pura’s work is to ensure that the Gambian consumer gets value for money.  “This notwithstanding, my department of state also recognises that the service providers are also in business to make profit.  Therefore, Pura must strike a balance between these two groups,” he added.

According to him, the government of The Gambia under the able leadership of His Excellency, Professor Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh, has created the enabling environment for business to thrive.

For his part, Alagie B Gaye, director general of Pura, said that since 2004, Pura has devoted a significant amount of resources to develop its capacity in terms of human capital and ensuring that the fundamentals are in place for an effective regulatory institution.  

“In this regard we are conscious that regulation as a practice requires tact and patience and represents many challenges in the various sectors of electricity, water and telecommunications,” he stated.

In his closing remarks, Abdoulie Touray, chairman of the Pura board, has this has been a very exciting year for the institution.  “This time, we are launching a consumer parliament, which as the name explicitly implies is a forum for debate, questioning and request for answers,” he said.  

He added that the launching of the consumer parliament is the final major event in 2008 which has effectively been the consumer’s year for Pura.

 “All these efforts have been geared towards empowering you, the consumer, by giving you the opportunity - which is your right - to demand higher quality of service and ask for explanation from all the service providers,” he explained.

Author: by Omar Wally