Deputies ratify Additional 10 Million SDR (D550 million) IFAD agreement

Sarjo Camara-Singateh

Deputies at the National Assembly on 28 December, 2015, ratified a financing agreement with the International Fund for New National Assembly BuildingAgricultural Development (IFAD) for an additional amount of 10,050,000 SDR.

Presenting the motion before the deputies during the fourth ordinary session, Mr. Abdou Kolley, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, said in its drive to secure food self sufficiency, the government of the Gambia secured and signed with IFAD an additional grant agreement to support the implementation of the NEMA project.

He said the additional financing of the agreement has two equal components of grant and loan of 5,025,000.00 SDR each, “thus bringing the total of NEMA financing to D23,200,000.00 (twenty-three million, two hundred thousand dalasi) SDR” (equivalent to D1,280 million). He noted that the additional financing is executed by later agreement confirming the parties’ agreement to the amendments made to the original agreements and requires ratification before the loan component can be disbursed

“The loan component is highly concessional for it stands as follows 5,025,000.00 (five million and twenty-five) thousand SDR, maturity 40 years includes a grace period of ten years and service fee 0.75%,” he stated.

According to the Finance Minister, the NEMA project targets women and youth who are at the core rice and vegetable production of the country. He added that it also supports young men and women under the age of 30 with the objective of enhancing youth empowerment, promoting market oriented vegetable and rice production, agricultural business, value addition, service producers and operators in rice and vegetable markets.

Minister Kolley noted that the project comprises water shed development commercialization and project facilitation. These activities, he said, will be implemented by central and local government structures, contracted suppliers, service providers and communities.

“All financial and material transactions of the project are subject to the Gambia government’s robust governance framework and comply with IFAD’s requirement for transparency and rectitude,” he added.

Seconding the motion, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the National Assembly Member for Serekunda East and Majority Leader, recalled that in 2012, they ratified a grant for this project. He stated that the NEMA project is dear to the hearts of their electorate describing it a win situation for both the loan and the grant. He noted that the geographical coverage of the six agricultural directorates in the Gambia is to reduce poverty among women and youth.

“This needs our urgent support,” said the Majority Leader.

Also supporting the motion was Hon. Bintanding Jarju, the member for Foni Brefet, , who described the water shed development part of the motion as important. She noted that this project came to rescue the women.

Report on the debate will continue in our subsequent publication.