By Sailu Bah
The Minister of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration (MOTIE) meets with livestock owners, dealers and butchers and appealed to them to lower the prices of their animals and meat as Tobaski approaches.
This meeting was held at the MOTIE conference hall in Banjul, on Thursday 25th September 2014. The meeting makes the livestock dealers take the opportunity and forward the plight they face in their trade to the Minister.
The Minister after hearing the plight of the dealers promised to work with stakeholders to see how best they could be solved.
Alhagie Kebba Jobe, President, Gambia Livestock allegedly said that Immigration officers arrest dealers who are from other countries for not providing papers. He said that this is part of the difficulties they face and added that this discourages lots of dealers who come from Senegal to bring in their Livestock. Because he said dealers who are victims would call others through phone and explain the situation which they can even exaggerate just to discourage others.
“I am pleading to the immigration department to please make it easy for foreign dealers coming in the country for the period of the Tobaski,” pleaded Alhagie Kebba Jobe, President of Gambia Livestock Association.
Few other dealers also commented on their plight; they said it is not their intention to increase prices, but the situation they face is not easy for them. They noted that transportation cost is increasing, and mentioned the difficulties at the crossing points, the feeding of the animals as well as the depreciation of the Gambian Dalasi against the CFA, which they said is one of the major factors responsible for hike in the price of animals.
They also spoke of the need for their properties and the properties of those coming in to the country for business to be secured and further stated that the municipalities used to levy extra cost on their business which they said is about D3, 000 and this sum is paid for only the Tobaski ram sales.
They noted that the business is where they earn their living and at least they must have a profit in it in order to be able to feed their families and take care of their needs.
Minister of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration Abdou Jobe, said the plight of the Livestock dealers is a great concern to the Government, and promised to work with stakeholders to remedy the situation.
Minister Jobe further said that changes cannot happen over night but things would gradually change. He added that each and everyone has role to play in Nation building.
“We prompted this meeting because Tobaski is fast approaching and this is the time people need Livestock and meat most, especially Ram. Therefore we call on this meeting to discuss with the Livestock dealers, Butchers to consider the welfare of the general public and make ram and meat easier and affordable for the people in the run up to Tobaski. And also we are expecting this thing to continue but we are not forcing anyone to reduce the cost but we are pleading because its a concern ,”pleaded Minister Jobe.
Jobe stated that though business must go with profit but said it should not be to make maximum profit.
He said it is good to also be meeting with dealers to know their problems and find a solution to it. He said his ministry has taken up an initiative meeting the people i.e. the business sector at the grass root level to know their plights and find a better solution to it for the interest of the Nation.
“We started this initiative by meeting with the Basic food commodities traders on 11th August 2014, and we shall continue with this with all the other sectors,” announced Mr Abdou Jobe ,Minister of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration.