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Cabinet Holds On Thursday Second Meeting Of 2022

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President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow’s interim cabinet has held its second meeting of the year on 7th April 2022 at the State House in Banjul.

Among others, the meeting discussed issues including the Intellectual Property Bill, 2022; the price hikes in the retail sector and its impact on the population; the National Food System Pathway, according to a statement sent to Kerr Fatou from the State House.

Below is the full statement

These are the conclusions of the 2nd meeting of Cabinet held on 7th April 2022. 

Cabinet discussed and adopted a paper presented by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on the Intellectual Property Bill, 2022. Once enacted by parliament, the Intellectual Property Bill will streamline the administration of intellectual property rights and make it a one-stop shop in line with the principles of ease of doing business and international best practices.

The idea of enacting an intellectual property Bill for The Gambia emerged in 2012 during the consultative process of preparing an intellectual property policy and strategy by the World Intellectual Property Organization in The Gambia. 

In 2019, Cabinet approved The Gambia Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy 2018 – 2023. An efficient intellectual property administration system will encourage applicants to continue to seek protections for their intellectual property rights in The Gambia thereby increasing the registration revenue base for the country. The Gambia, being a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization, has a legal obligation to ensure that intellectual property rights are effectively administered in its jurisdiction. Cabinet discussed and approved the Intellectual Property Bill, 2022.

As part of efforts to ease the burden of cost of living in The Gambia, the Cabinet discussed at length the current economic situation of the country compounded by COVID 19 pandemic and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Cabinet took note with concern the price hikes in the retail sector and its impact on the population. To this end, the Cabinet has directed the National Economic Council to immediately convene a meeting to come with recommendations that will reduce the shock on the population. 

Cabinet also discussed and adopted a paper presented by the Hon Minister of Agriculture on the National Food System Pathway. The key milestones of the pathway are intended to: Increase access to land, financing and other productive resources that significantly target women, youth, and differently abled persons; Increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of the health delivery system; Increase food production by 100%. Sustainable exploitation of the country’s natural resource base; Encourage more private sector involvement in the food systems. Introduction and promotion of national food reserves and government to fulfil its international fiscal obligations.

In order to accelerate the National Food System Pathway, the government has committed itself to fulfil its commitment of 10% of the annual budget to Agriculture as per the Malabo declaration agreement. Government has also under this scheme committed to enhance farmers’ access to finance through matching grants as well as reduce post-harvest losses, food waste and improve market access to women and other smallholder farmers to both local and international markets. Government will also encourage and facilitate increased consumption of locally produced and safe quality food, including the promotion of innovative school feeding programs that use food items sourced from the local farming communities and the consumption of fortified foods. 

Government has further committed itself under this program to promote the right to food and end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. 

The Hon Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment presented a paper on the framework agreement for recruitment of Gambians to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The agreement will assist to regularize the status of numerous illegal and irregular Gambian migrants currently residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As part of efforts to reduce the unemployment rate, and the flow of the youth taking irregular routes locally referred to as the “Back way”, the agreement will enhance cooperation and skills transfer exchanges between the two countries. 

The agreement will play an important role in ensuring that Labour rights of Gambian workers are protected, improve the governance of Labour migration, enhancing migration and development linkages. Subsequent to the coming into force of the agreement, the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment will ensure that those recruited will undergo training using the recently developed pre-departure training manual and Labour migration strategy. Cabinet discussed and approved the paper on the recruitment of Gambians to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presented by the Hon Minister of Trade.

Cabinet also discussed and approved a second paper presented by the Hon Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment on the promotion and reciprocal protection of investment agreement between the government of The Gambia and United Arab Emirates. 

The agreement will position the government of The Gambia in facilitating inward investment from the United Arab Emirates and promoting destination Gambia in UAE with the desire to intensify their economic cooperation by creating favourable conditions for further investment. 

The agreement recognizes that the encouragement and reciprocal protection under international agreement of such investments will be conducive to the stimulation of business initiatives of investors and will increase prosperity in both states.

End!

Source: State House, Banjul, 8th April 2022

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