BY Mama A Touray & Mustapha Jarju,
The Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA) informed the general public about the suspension of the Comium GSM company during a press conference held on Wednesday at the PURA office along Kairaba Avenue.
The suspension came after the Ministry of Information received an update from the GSM company regarding the debt payment that followed a letter of suspension from the ministry as the suspension took effect on Tuesday 5.e October 2021.
Speaking to the media, Yusupha M Jobe, Managing Director of PURA, said Comium approached them on the last day before the suspension promising them that they would make a payment of 14 million dinars out of the total debt amount of more than 65 million dinars held by Comium. “This amount is very small compared to what they owed” according to the rules and regulations, if Comium is to have another opportunity, they must have an agreement or a plan on how they are going to pay the balance, but it has said it was never given to either PURA or the government.
DG Jobe added that, Comium revealed to PURA that there is a particular UK based company joining its management and will provide them with funding, “the company was not present in The Gambia, PURA has no jurisdiction over it and there is no proper investment plan and timeframe for the upgrade. ”
Therefore, he said, PURA must move forward by informing the development ministry and providing updates of what PURA has received from Comium, “following which the minister wrote to suspend the Comium license. “,.
The CEO further clarified that Comium is still authorized to take other measures to remedy the situation. Therefore, PURA, the enforcement agency and government agency that oversees regulatory matters, has no choice but to ensure enforcement takes place.
He went further that PURA is very concerned about the situation of Comium which has over a hundred employees working for the GSM company, but PURA is working hard to ensure that Comium staff and customers will not be seriously affected on their lives and livelihoods. with the suspension of the company. Saying “however, it is under The Gambia’s labor law that the actual treatment of how we have treated staff in the future will be treated,” he pledged.
PURA, together with the government, has set up a working group that is looking into the issue in the future. From now on, the enforcement agency ensures compliance with the law and ensures that “Comium is no longer broadcast for the time being. ”Because PURA expects from them what they can do to remedy the situation. In this context, the working group will look at the affairs of their staff, the public and their clients. “
In addition, Comium customers were warned two weeks ago to either change their subscription or switch to other GSM companies in The Gambia, to ensure that they are not in the dark when terms of communication and PURA makes greater efforts to ensure that Comium customers are fully aware of this.
The CEO of PURA acknowledges that if Comium complies during the suspension period, their license can be reinstated so that they can continue to operate, stating that connecting people through communication is their priority and he quickly added that this cannot be done by forcibly asking people to quit. to other GSM companies, but the regulator will ensure that Comium customers have the option of not being out of communication.
In conclusion he said that Comium needs to upgrade to be able to compete with other GSM providers, we are aware that not long ago they suffered losses, “they made profit before but now things have reached the end where they are finding it very difficult to sort out the issues including wages and other things, so we really need to act now to see what we can do to save the day.