By Ramatoulie Jawo
Hon. Yaya Sanyang, member of the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development who chaired the committee’s meeting with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) warned the officials that the committee would not take future excuses for the delays of fertilizer procurement.
“The contract approved by Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) for Zain-enterprise was 10, 000 tons but the contract document signed indicated that the company supplied only 7, 000 metric tons. You cannot convince us that you were working under pressure because you are experts in your area,” he said.
Sanyang said the committee would consider establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate and bring to book those officials responsible for the procurement of fertilizer if the delay happens again in the future
The Latrikunda NAM said the officials should inform the committee whenever they encounter delay in accessing finance saying “the committee will engage the GPPA on why they approved restricted tenders”.
Hon Omar Jammeh, a member of the committee said looking at the cost of fertilizer today; it eventually shows that something went wrong somewhere.
“We have fertilizer that can serve the country for two years, but what happens to that agreement?” he asked.
The Managing Director of the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC), Muhammed Njie told the committee that the Corporation is mandated to purchase fertilizer on behalf of the country for the farming communities, and in doing so, they scout for funding from banks to secure loans to purchase the needed fertilizer for the farmers.
He said fertilizer in the past years was arriving late in the country, but in 2021, when they monitored the international price of fertilizer, they realized that due to the pandemic, the price was going up and they felt it was wise for the prompt action.
“We have given all the documents regarding the procurement processes of the fertilizer to the committee. So, if we wanted to hide something from you guys (committee), then we would not have submitted the documents,” Njie stressed.
He said they have submitted the documents on time and said if the Committee has issues, they should communicate to them so that they can improve on their weaknesses.
The National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on 4th July summoned officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and GGC to review procurement documents of fertilizer meant for farmers.