Gambia: President Jammeh Kick-Starts Cabinet Fund With D0.5M

The president of the Republic has donated D0.5M to Cabinet as a kick-start for the establishment of a Credit Union for ministers, at a presentation ceremony on Monday at the Cabinet Room in State House.

Presenting a Trust Bank Savings Account book to Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh advised the ministers to make the mostof the initiative, saying it is a fulfillment of a pledge he made a few days ago.

"It is inline with my pledge to make sure that the Cabinet also has a credit union just like any other institution, I hereby present to the Cabinet through you, the [vice president], this Savings Account book with a sum of five hundred thousand dalasi to kick-start operating a Cabinet Credit Union," he told them. He also urged the ministers to work with the vice president and put up a mechanismof contributing monthly to the union's account.

President Jammeh added: "The idea of a credit union is a wonderful one; however for any credit union to survive, when you borrow, you must carry forward and pay. If you borrow without paying, the credit union will be dead. Sometimes in Cabinet, you have unexpected occurrence where we need to put funds together, assist one person or the other. Because of the lack of such a fund, sometimes it is difficult for members to contribute meaningfully. I think with this fund, you will be able to take care of any eventualities comfortably without any hardship."

Membership

The Gambian leader stressed that membership of the union is for all ministers whether they are in Cabinet or not. He said in the event that a minister is no more in cabinet and owes the union, his or her money will be deducted from what he/she contributed and the balance will be given back to him/her.

He added: "We are not taking anybody's money. It is a credit union, if you leave whatever is not used, your balance will be given back to you and still you can be a member of the union because once a member you are always a member, whether you are out of Cabinet or not because we are not supposed to friends when you are here and enemies when you leave unless you have other motives. In the event that you leave, the choice is yours. If you want, you take your balance, if you want, you leave it and continue being part of it."

Speaking earlier, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Lamin Jobarteh, said they [Cabinet] are very happy and appreciative ofthe president's gesture. His words: "You are one unique president who cares for the welfare of not only your Cabinet but the entire populace of The Gambia. We pray for your long life, success and we further pray that God help you in reaching the apex of all the things that you desire for the welfare and advancement of the beautiful Gambia."

The vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, joined other speakers to thank the Gambian leader on behalf of the Cabinet for spearheading the move. "We are grateful once again to you for your continuous generosity. We as a Cabinet and as a nation are proud of you for your benevolence and for caring and sharing," she stated.

She assured President Jammeh that they would not fail him and he will see the result from this particular initiative. "We promised you that we will continue to follow your leadership by example in not just farming but in other spheres of development," VP Njie-Saidy added.

The minister for Energy, Teneng-Mba Jaiteh, also spoke at the ceremony moderated by Mariama Njie, the deputy secretary to Cabinet.

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