By Muhammad Bah
The Director General of the Gambia Tourism Board Mr. Abdoulie Hydara on Thursday 28 May told the PAC/PEC committee that during the year 2013 the GT board realized an overall income of D71.5 Million compared to D61.5 Million in 2012.
Mr. Hydara said this shows an increase of D10 Million dalasi representing 16.3% which is mainly attributed to the significant increase in the Development Levy revenue receipts of D5.5 Million(13.3% above 2012). He also stated that this increment is as a result of the improved tourism arrival numbers and the appreciation of the major foreign currencies against the dalasi. He pointed out the continued appreciation of major foreign currencies against the dalasi had resulted in a foreign currency gain of D1.6 Million Dalasi as compared to a gain of D0.9 Million in 2012.
On Government subventions, he told Members that during the year 2013 the GT Board receives 0.25 Million as subvention from Central Government, which resulted in a decrease of D0.05 Million over 2012.
Director Hydara also highlighted the total revenue from the Development Levy on Tourist visiting the Gambia amounting to 47.6 Million as compared to D42.0 Million in 2012. He said the increase in revenue of D5.6 Million is attributed to an increase in arrival numbers and the appreciations of the pound sterling and the Euro against the dalasi.
He however disclosed that the marketing expenditure made by the Board in 2013 was D32.9 Million compared to D32.1 Million in 2012 an increase of D0.8 Million (2.5%).
He added that the current assets has increase from 46.1 Million in 2012 to D54.2 Million in 2013 resulting an increase of D8.1 Million(17.6 Million) over 2012.
Both Mr. Hydara and the Chairman of GT Board Mr. Bakary Jammeh highlighted the GT board challenges to the PAC/PEC. The duo stressed the need for the GT Board Act to be revised in order to empower the Board to carry out enforced closures for business that are not paying operational license on time.
They added that the Act also needs to empower the board to confiscate assets of debtors who continuously fail to honour their obligations. The two GT Board top officials further pointed out the lack of exclusivity in the management of Tourism Development Area (TDA) which negates the G T Board’s ability to raise the much needed funds to develop the infrastructure within the TDA.
The Director concluded by informing PAC/PEC Committee thatGT Board spends more money on management of waste disposal in the TDA and the Hotels when councils are generating more income than them. He said councils have not ploughed back what they have collected from the Hotels in terms of developing the Tourism Development Area (TDA) or waste collection.
During the session, the Finance Director, Ousainou Senghore took the floor to respond to some of the Audit queries. This was followed by the Gambia Public Procurement statement rating the GT Board 92% compliance which denotes substantially compliance under the GPPA Act 2001.
The officials would return on Monday 1st June 2015 for the questions and answers session among those expected is the external Audit queries.