The Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises (PAC/PEC) Committee of the National Assembly Wednesday unanimously considered and adopted the Gambia Livestock and Marketing Agency (GLMA) Annual activity report and audited financial statement for the year ended 31st December 2010 and 2011 reports respectively.
Presenting his annual activity report before the Committee, Dr. Demba B. Jallow, the director general of the GLMA, explained that the Agency was created by an Act of Parliament in 2008 and their activities commenced only in 2010. He said the mandate of the Agency is to promote the commercialisation and marketing of livestock in The Gambia and to facilitate the participation of Gambians in the marketing of livestock.
He also tod the deputies that the Agency establishes and manages livestock markets that meet zoo-sanitary standards for sale and purchase of farmers' livestock; own and operate abattoirs and holdings where slaughtering and processing services meet food safety and sanitary standards; introduce the use of livestock weighting scales and bands for determining the live weights and prices of marketed animals destined for slaughter.
Jallow disclosed that a total of 465 livestock dealers and 394 butchers were registered, as of 31st December, 2010, adding that this activity was jointly conducted with officials from the Department of Immigration who assisted in the authentication of the national documents of applicants.
He continued: "Registration fees are: Gambia butchers and dealers -D500 and D1000 per person respectively; non-Gambian butchers and dealers - D1000 and D2000 per person respectively. All revenue generated from the registration process was generated from this exercise and paid to the National Treasury, as mandated by the Act."
Jallow further revealed that a total of 31 young and able-bodied Gambians were recruited by three councils and trained by the Agency in the Art of butchery (BCC-9 trainees, KMC-16, and West Coast Region-6). He said all the successful trainees were provided full uniforms, chopping and cutting knives, balance scales and boots through their respective councils, and that similar training would continue throughout the country in due course.
The GLMA DG also told the Committee that a new price tariff for meat was reached between the Agency and stakeholders following the broad-based consultative forums held in all regional capitals and growth centres. He added that the tariff would be valid for six months (till April 2012) before being reviewed.
He stated that GLMA continues to work closely with PROGEBE and recently signed an MOU on the operation and maintenance of three livestock buying stations constructed at their project sites. "The Agency also collaborated with Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) and has signed an MoU with them for the conduct of butcher training programmes for its stakeholders," he added.
Jallow further stated that the Anti-Cattle Rustling Association, a grassroots initiative to fight the menace of cattle theft has been working with the Agency in sensitising district LOAs to curb this ever escalating unfortunate vice and to assist them form vigilante groups to prevent cattle theft, and to trace and apprehend lost cattle.
"Five tripartite meetings between the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, the Gambia Revenue Authority, and the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency, for the implementation of the Executive Directives issued by the Office of the President on cattle taxes were conducted. Eventually, the Councils finally paid to the Agency, through GRA, the sum of D426, 773.60 as revenue for cattle tax, 2010," he remarked.
He also disclosed that in October, 2012, the Agency in partnership with PROGEBE, LHDP, livestock farmers and other stakeholders staged the 2nd Edition of the Livestock show and Tobaski ram sale in Abuko. Over 100 farmers and private companies from The Gambia and Senegal participated in the 10-day event, which saw the display of about 1,300 rams and a variety of pharmaceuticals and agricultural produce.
Ibraima Sanyang, a senior compliance officer from Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), also gave out the GPPA compliance review report for GLMA 2010. The National Assembly members and subject matter specialists of the PAC/PEC Committees raised comments, concerns and observations, which were responded to by officials of GLMA before adopting the GLMA 2010 and 2011 reports respectively.