Members of the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly Thursday commended The Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) for being the first public agency to hit a record 99 percent compliance to the rules and regulations of The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA).
The Agency was given the tap on the back while presenting its annual activity report and financial statement for the year 2012 before members at the Legislative Chambers.
Speaking during the presentation, the assistant compliance officer at the GPPA, Lamin D. Camara, affirmed that GLMA was found to be 99% compliant, thus congratulating the Agency for being the "first institution to be rated 99% during this PAC/PEC" sittings.
Presenting his report, the director general of GLMA, Dr. Demba B. Jallow, told members that the Agency had during the period under review participated in the buying and selling of limited quantity of livestock with the objective of providing an alternative source of cheaper meat and animals to consumers, relative to the prices offered by the private butchers and dealers.
"The determination of a price tariff for meat was further decentralised from the regions to the village/community/ward levels where the retail price of meat is reached between the Agency and stakeholders through broad-based consultative forums," he informed members.
The chairman of GLMA Board of Directors, Dr. Denis Carayol, lamented what he called the "small budget and a narrow resource base" of the Agency, something he opined, does not commensurate with its mandate. This, he explained, makes it impossible for the Agency to carry out many of its functions.
"Despite the executive directive of 2011 which authorised GLMA to act as the sole collector, there is still the frequent conflict of interests between GLMA and councils/municipalities in the collection of fees in respect to butchers and livestock dealers' licenses. Most of the butchers are not reliable and do not have the requisite collateral or ability to access loans offered by micro-finance institutions or other private lending sources despite GLMA's efforts in linking them to such lending institutions," he told members.
The director of Technical Services at GLMA, Ebrima Cham, assured of the Agency's commitment to continue working towards the provision of a realistic retail price for meat through localised consultative forums throughout the country. He also pledged their commitment to construct and rehabilitate appropriate meat handling and marketing infrastructure such as slaughter houses and butcher shops that meet acceptable hygienic standards.
In his scrutiny, the National Assembly member for Illiassa, Hon. Lamin Jammeh, congratulated GLMA for a record compliance, something he said, explains why its total asset is more viable than the total liabilities.
A nominated member, Hon. Seedy Njie, suggested for vigorous capacity building to be created for livestock farmers.
The NAM for Niamina West, Hon. Lamin Jadama, also suggested that a stakeholders' forum be convened to solve the frequent conflict of interest between GLMA and councils/municipalities in the collection of fees in respect to butchers and livestock dealers' licenses.
The Agency's reports were subsequently endorsed.