Gambia: mobile operator Comium appeals to have licence suspension lifted
Mobile operator Comium Gambia has appealed to the country’s Public Utility and Regulatory Authority (PURA) to lift its suspension and enable it to operate fully in order to repay its outstanding fees.
Last week, PURA confirmed the licence suspension until 4 November 2021 and said the company risks licence revocation “due to unfulfilled obligations in compliance with regulations and paying of arrears.”
Lamin Drammeh, technical director of Comium said the company is committed to repaying the amounts owed, and the suspension of its licence had been enforced after a positive meeting with PURA.
During the meeting, Comium and its new investor had demonstrated goodwill with a payment of D14-million (Dalasi) towards its debt and expressed determination to fully repay the amount in arrears.
Drammeh added, “Comium (who recently acquired a new international investor with whom it signed a management agreement with the objectives of resolving all the current financial and network issues including bring 4G and 5G to the Gambia at a later stage), was shocked by PURA’s decision to suspend the network. The new move of Comium will not only improve the economic situation in the country, but will also create additional job openings, increase the existing Comium workforce by 30% while safeguarding the main source of living of the current 125 employed families in the company.”
PURA director general Yusupha Jobe said in order to be given any further opportunity, the company needed to agree to a repayment plan.
He added that to date, no plan has been given to PURA and the suspension will last for one month during which time the company is expected to take further action to remedy the situation.
Jobe said, “We gave them full details of what is required which was not only the financial aspect but they also have been failing to provide information as required by PURA Act in terms of their investment and what they are doing going forward to ensure that the company is competitive and sustainable. We gave them time to comply and bring forward the information required and make the payment. Unfortunately, before the deadline, the came and pledged that they will make a payment of D14 million from which D10-million will be paid to the government and the other amount to PURA.”