By Muhammad Bah
Mr. Abdou Kolley, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, on Wednesday, 17th June 2015, asked the National Assembly to ratify a loan agreement between the government of the Gambia and the International Development Association.
He informed deputies that credit financing instruments with the World Bank were signed on the 5th June 2014 for SDR 1,300,000.00 (equivalent to USD: 2,002,000.00) SDR 700,000.00 ( equivalent to USD: 1,078,000.00) respectively for the funding of the Africa Higher Education centers of Excellence project.
The finance and economic affairs minister said the project’s objective is to support the recipient to build its national capacity through the regional services of the African Centers of Excellence of the participating universities.
Minister Kolley said the service for the loan fee is 0.75% per year and the interest rate is at 1% in the first 10 years and 2% in 20 years, adding that the repayment period is 30 years.
He described the loan as having highly concessional lending terms in line with government of the Gambia borrowing requirements.
He called on the law makers to consider and ratify the credit and grant financing agreements between the government of the Gambia and the International Development Association.
Hon. Haddy Nyang Njie, National Assembly Member (NAM) for Jeshwamg, seconded the motion. She said anything that has to do with education is crucial and that she supported this loan agreement and rated it as highly necessary to be ratified and to be implemented soon.
Hon. Muhammed Magassy, NAM for Basse, lamented the lack of capacity in the country and the educational sector, in particular. He said even at the level of the University of The Gambia capacity, is highly lacking, citing that the Masters’ Degree holders are allowed to lecture. He said capacity development is key in all sectors in the country and urged the government to do more.