Since the establishment of diplomatic and bilateral ties between the governments of The Gambia and Japan in 1965, the two countries continue to enjoy and broaden their cooperation based on mutual trust and understanding to higher heights.
It is in the news that the government of Japan has donated 115,956 bags of rice to The Gambia to support NDP priorities. The food package, which has already docked at The Gambia Ports Authority, is now becoming an annual affair for the Japanese government to extend magnanimity to their Gambian brothers.
The Office of the President in consultation with the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance and Economic Affairs has decided to conduct the sale of the rice at the Ports.
The Gambia Japan relation is a perfect examples of friendship based on mutual trust and understanding and in making the ideals of south-south cooperation a reality.
Under the current administration, these bilateral relations had not only expanded but deepened in all areas, mostly notable in economic relations, political relations as well as people- to-people exchange.
With regard to aid, Japan has and continues to support Gambia's food security quest as demonstrated in the recent food package.
Annually, Japan gives Official Development Assistance (ODA) to The Gambia meant to improve livelihoods of rural people with the provision of water supply and food aid and support to the economic activities by improving the basis of agriculture and fishery sectors. And the Japanese government is also committed to further deepening economic ties as demonstrated in their quest to exponential increase the amount of ODA The Gambia receives annually.
We must therefore commend the government of The Gambia for their foresight and timely intervention amid coronavirus pandemic. We also appeal to government to ensure sanity in the buying and reselling of the rice.
Officials should be mindful because when such package arrives, greedy and selfish businessmen want to sneak under to take advantage at their selfish interest. Let there be sanity in the buying and reselling in the whole process. As government sell these rice at a lesser price to businessmen, let them also resell it at a price that will not cause hardship on average Gambians. Last year, similar announcement had been made by the government, but in the end, nobody knew where the whole rice went to. Government must therefore be seen to play justice and not the other way round.
According to a media dispatch, the price for a 30 kilograms bag of rice is pegged at four hundred and fifty Dalasis (D450) only. And that the price to the consumers should not be more than D550 per bag.
The public should be vigilante and reported any foul play in the resell of these prices above normal price as endorsed by government.