By MUHAMMED Sailu BAH
The members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly on Monday, 14 March, 2016 adopted the Audited financial report 2014/2015 of the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA).
The report which was earlier presented last Thursday by GLMA officials was subjected to further scrutiny by the members of the PAC/PEC Committee.
During the scrutiny of the financial report, the majority leader Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta commended the GLMA officials for adhering to the GPPA procurement policies.
He further disclosed that according to the GPPA, GLMA is 95% compliant and which he said is commendable.
The majority leader further asked for some clarifications on whether there is any regulation that helps GLMA to reprimand people who default with regards to meat pricing.
On the issue of tax collection, he asked how GLMA goes about it as it was pointed out by some PAC / PEC members that livestock tax collection is taking place in all the other regions except URR and CRR North and which did not feature in the report. It was further noted that these are the regions that produce the highest number of livestock’s in the country.
In response to some of the questions, Mr. Ebrima Cham, Director of Technical Services at GLMA, said there are no regulations with regards to the pricing of meat, but added that they are trying to work with the consumer protection tribunal to make sure that anyone who is found wanting can be taken before the tribunal.
Mr. Cham also said the reason why cattle tax was not collected in those two mentioned regions is because the GRA is tasked to be doing that. After collecting the taxes, he added, the GRA takes out their commission and give rest to GLMA.
When asked by the majority leader as to where such a directive came from, the GLMA director of technical services responded that it was from the office of the president a few years ago.
Hon. Tombong Jatta told the GLMA official that they should work together with GRA to impress on the office of the president to revert the responsibility of collecting cattle tax back to GLMA for the purpose of efficiency.
The members of the PAC/PEC committee further adviced GLMA to revisit their Act with the view to making amendments particularly on their mandate in order to address the current realities.
Hon. Muhammed Magassey, NAM for Basse constituency, asked the GLMA Director General, Bakary Badgie, who also doubles as the Chief of Foni Bondali, as to whether he can manage the two responsibilities at the same time. He also asked him to explain his qualifications regarding livestock management.
In response, Mr. Badjie said he has the capabilities of running the two offices, adding that he scheduled himself to be working from Monday to Thursday for GLMA and the weekend for chieftaincy matters.
Hon. Magassey further asked him how he manages to deal with emergencies regarding matters that concern him as chief during week days. He responded that he attends to them as they come during the week. “I have an assistant, who deputises me whenever an emergency arises and I have been working as a livestock officer with 23 years of experience,” said the GLMA DG.
The report was later adopted by the PAC/PEC members but with recommendations for GLMA to consider the development of a strategy that can help in their work as a livestock agency.
By MUHAMMED Sailu BAH