Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Veepee Njie-Saidy hailed President Jammeh for supporting on Beijing Plus

According to reports monitors on local newspapers, stated that, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, has expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to President Jammeh for donating D300, 000 towards the Beijing +15 Review meeting and the AU Back to Back meeting held from the 13th to the 21st of November 2009.
In a letter written on behalf of the staff of the Office of the Vice President, the Women’s Bureau, the National Women’s Council and all Gambian women, Vice President Njie-Saidy saluted the Gambian leader for allowing Gambia to host the meetings.
The letter that was written on behalf of the staff of the Office of the Vice President, reads:
The staff of the Office of the Vice President, the Women’s Bureau and the National Women’s Council and all the Gambian women wish to extend to Your Excellency deep appreciation and gratitude for donating three hundred thousand dalasi ( D300, 000) towards the Beijing + 15 Review Meeting and the AU Back to Back Meetings from 13th – 21st November 2009 and also for allowing the hosting to take place in The Gambia.
The resounding success of these two meetings is largely due to your magnanimity and indefatigable commitment to the general welfare of all Gambians including women of this country. May Allah the Almighty continue to guide you in the right path and endow you with more coverage in the development effort of our dear Gambia. Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Navy Holds Inter Vessel Competition

The marietime wing of The Gambia Armed Forces organised an inter vessel competition held at the Naval Head Quarters in Banjul, on tuesday , according to reports reachinh Mansa Banko.
The said objectives of the competition was to revive and reflect on the naval culture and tradition in order to assess the level of cleanliness and maintenance of all equipments and machines.
Four vesels took part during the competition that is GNS Taipei, GNS Kunta Kinteh, GNS Kindy Camara, and GNS Musa Maliya Jammeh with a crew of 12 men, 10 officers and 10 other ranks.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, urged the crew to avoid allowing the boat to get to an eye- soaring state so that they can benefit the Gambian Populace.

Winners of Second July 22nd Miss Pegeant

Six people have emerged winners of the 2nd edition of the Miss July 22nd Scholarship Pageantry. They are: Isa Jarra, student of the Management Development Institute (MDI) came out first from the tertiary institution category, followed by Neneh S. Borry from and Ya Awa Njie, both from The Gambia College.
At the senior schools category, Rohey Njie of Gambia Senior Secondary School emerged first, followed by Fatou Khan from SOS Senior and Fatou A. Drammeh also from Gambia High School.
Speaking at the event which was held last Thursday at the Tripoli Hall, Jerma Beach Hotel, The Gambia’s minister for Basic and Secondary Education, Honourable Fatou Lamin Faye said the Miss July 22nd Scholarship Pageantry is a platform for improving academic excellence, communication skills and general knowledge among Gambian girls, and not otherwise.
According to the minister who was speaking while giving her opening remarks, the event was initiated and supported by the president, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh in order to give opportunities to a wide range of Gambian girls to access scholarship. She said the event was initiated a year ago when participants were drawn from all the regions of the country.
“We always seek to clarify. This pageant is not meant to encourage lewdness, desecrate the sacredness of the feminine body, nor is it intended to expose our very vulnerable and precious female students to any type of social danger,” she asserted.
While she noted that pageantry is associated with beauty, as other pageants tend to connote, she emphasized that to appreciate this event, beauty needs to be conceived of in broader terms.
According to her, beauty does not pertain to only facial looks or body movements, shape and size. However, it transcends such superficial characteristics, and goes further to embody what could be referred to as a person’s character, personality or persona in addition to all the other attributes that make decent and normal persons acceptable and integrated into the society.
She established that the scholarship pageant thus seeks to dig deep down into the personalities and potentials of the youth within the educational system in order to showcase them, and ultimately smoothen their development and maturation process.
“It is the development of the inner strength and the inner worth, complemented by the outward representation of their inner self that culminates into strengthening our human resource base, thereby making us productive and useful to our various family units, communities and society at large,” she said.
Speaking further, Hon. Faye posited that this means that the pageant has to do with reinforcing those aspects of the learners that only blossom when detected early enough and nurtured to maturity before they are dissipated.
“However, the art of being articulate, creative and self-assertive in a manner that is bereft of arrogance and disrespect are salient characteristics that need to be implanted, sustained and cemented in the Gambian youth,” she said, adding that in some instances, cultural practices and certain modes of socializing children into adult roles inhibit their potential to the point that many children under-perform in their early years, and this, she said, manifests itself in adult life in various forms of mediocrity.
She also pointed out that Gambian youths need to be assisted to be confident and be able to handle situations adeptly whilst counterbalancing this with respect, responsibility and honour which should be ensured to prevail.
At this point, she commended president Jammeh, the founder and chief patron of the pageant for the innovative thought of organizing this laudable competition which in real terms seeks to complement government efforts within the education sector.
According to the Education minister, the pageant is intended to lead to the sponsorship of young talented Gambian students in order to guarantee them quality education and to ensure that they realize their full potentials.
While she said that the president had initially promised to sponsor nine of the best contestants from three categories of Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools as well as the tertiary institutions that completed at the first edition, she noted that he eventually sponsored all the 100 participants, noting that one of them has just completed her studies in the United Kingdom with exceptionally good grades in Electrical and Electronic engineering and is back in the country waiting return to pursue a BSC Honours degree in Aeronautic Technology in September 2010.

Police warn against non acceptance of dalasi denomination

The office of the Inspector General of Police has warned that business people and shop keepers in the country will be prosecuted who refuse to accept the Gambian Dalasi in their business transactions with the public .

A statement from the Police Headquarters in Banjul announced that "all are reminded that the Dalasi remains legal tender for the Central Bank of the Gambia and any person or persons found to be refusing to accept this denomination will face prosecution."

"The general public is hereby advised to report any businessperson or shopkeeper failing to accept the Dalasi denomination in payment for goods to the nearest police station," the statement ended.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Slain Journalist Deyda Hydara Icon of Gambian Media

The name Deyda in Hassaniya Arabic means someone of great stature. It is not known why Deyda's father gave him such a meaningful name, but it could be he sensed that his son had the makings of a distinguished character. If so, then his father's intuition was spot on, because early on in life Deyda showed he was cut out for a big destiny. Unlike his other three siblings who stuck to the traditional koranic school (Dara), he had a foot in both camps - the Arabic and Western educational systems. Coming from the ultra-conservative Hydara clan that claims its ancestry from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), his hybrid education at the time must have caused quite a stir. The Hydaras are renowned in the Sahelian region for their exceptional grasp of Quranic Science, so much so that all Hydara males are schooled in the art from a very tender age and are required to uphold the clan's heritage without adulteration and apology. But he turned out to be one of the few who dared in the thick of the Hydara conservatism to break with tradition to see how the other half lives. Though Baba Hydara had qualms about his son's incursion into the unfamiliar terrain of western civilization, he laughed it off as a fad his son would soon outgrow, but he was mistaken - Deyda stayed the course, taking to his studies like a duck to water. But such drive is about par for the course for someone born under the zodiac sign of Gemini who are often typified by their self-will, sharp wit, astuteness, and curiosity.

Deyda Hydara was born on 9 June 1946 on Dobson Street, Banjul. His father Baba Hydara was a Mauritanian immigrant of the Moor extraction who ran a grocer's shop at 8 Hagan Street, where Deyda grew up. On his maternal side, he descended from the Faal clan of Kaur, where Halima, Deyda's mother, was born. When his father's business slackened, he returned to Nouakchott, Mauritania, leaving the teenage Deyda and his younger ones - Lala, Mamana and Dawda - with their mother who later remarried one Papa Bila at Barra, where she lived until her death in 1992; two years after Deyda's father had passed away in Nouakchott.

Like most teenage boys, Deyda took to street football with gusto. On the pitch, he would pace down the right flank, waltzing through seemingly impregnable defences to pull out passes that were usually too tricky for goalkeepers to parry, much less save; but he gave up his football mania after his secondary school teacher told him it was a dead-end career unsuitable for a hot brain like him. His quitting football is like kicking off a ladder after one has used it to climb to the top. It was through football that he forged a friendship that was to change his life forever. He hit it off with Joseph Gilikou during one of their countless football games and both of them became inseparable childhood chums, though it was Deyda who frequented more Joseph's family home at No 10 Leman Street (now Ecowas Avenue), bantering and occasionally helping out with some domestic chores. His get-up-and-go so impressed Joseph's aunt, Tata Aubi Caroline Keita (nee Goddard), that she enrolled him at the Alliance Francaise on Picton Street, Banjul, popularly known then as the "Foyer".

Deyda excelled at the final examination and was sent to Lycee Gaston Berger in Kaolack, Senegal, where he lost himself in French literature. Shortly before taking his baccalaureate, he fell in love with the writings of Albert Camus, Rebalais, and Jean-Paul Satre whose existentialist philosophy originated by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegard caught his fascination, which in turn led him to study in-depth the works of Frank Fanon and Che Guevara. He kept up his passion for literature right up to the Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal. He discontinued his university education after two years due to lack of funds.

He took this setback in his stride and pressed on with life, eager to get a job and contribute something to the family's upkeep. At about this time he was already wide awake to his theatrical flair, as he had already strutted his stuff in a number of school dramas and musical concerts. He made up his mind then to rely on his own innate ability - his voice - and faith in God to pull him through the unknown. He got a job as disc jockey at Radio Syd, anchoring three entertainment programmes - Morning Show, Rencontre and Disque Agogo. About this time he met and married Maria Dacosta with whom he had four children - one girl and three boys.

Alongside his basic responsibilities at Radio Syd, he worked first as a translator and then as a correspondent for the Agence France Presse (AFP). He also joined The Senegambia Sun as a special correspondent and was to join Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) in latter years as a correspondent. He left Radio Syd to set up Excaf Printing, which metamorphosed into The Point newspaper. He took over the editorial seat of the paper when Baboucarr resigned as editor-in-chief of the paper. He was for a long time the treasurer of the West Africa Journalists Association (WAJA). The other organisations he belonged to included the Association Des Journalistes Francophones (AJF), the Faateleku Cultural Group, the Premier Lions Club and Worldview the Gambia.

Throughout his career as a journalist, he was obsessed with press freedom, good governance and economic development.

"Gambia Cashew Is Number One "Jawneh

Mr. Musa Jawneh, President of the National Farmer's Platform Gambia(NFPG) has said that the cashew grown in the Gambia is the best in quality throughout the sub-region.
Mr. Jawneh made the revelations in an interview which he gave at his residence in Brikama Missira in Western Region.
According to him, from the 1990's to 2006, all researches conducted in the country has find that the cashew grown in the country is the best quality, and cannot be compared to hat of any country's cashew in the sub-region.
He added " our soil is very good quality and fertile, when it comes to cashew growing", and he called on farmers in general to grow cashew on their lands.
Jawneh noted that, growing cashew is easy "you can grow cashew in your farm with other products"
According to Jawneh, farmers should make it priority to grow more cashew orchards. The orchards can be between our villages and our rice fields and can also serve as a sort of forest".
Asked about the price of cashew in the international market, Jawneh said hat the price is good adding that the price of cashew in foreign exchange is double the price of groundnut which is cash and food crop for the Gambia and called on farmers to shift in cashew growing.
He said that this would serve as a source of income generation and employment opportunities for farmers.
He further revealed that the companies do not process the cashew nut in the country but export and process it abroad, which he said is a "double business" to the companies.
He called on Gambian businessmen and women to venture in the cashew trade.
As he puts it, all the companies in the business normally repatriate all monies gained to their respective countries and only little is left in the Gambia.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gambia to introduce Biometric Drivers License in 2010

The Gambia government has revealed plans to introduce Biometric Drivers Licence next year, after the successful introduction of the Biometric Identity Card system in July this year.

All the necessary logistics are in place and preparations are at an advanced stage to introduce the Biometric Drivers Licence next year, said Hon. Marie Saine-Firdaus, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, while standing in for the Minister of Interior during a question-and-answer session at the National Assembly on 17 December.

According to Hon. Saine-Firdaus, Pristine Consulting, an IT service consultant firm, is currently training personnel of the Gambia Police Force to be up to speed with the new technology.

Veering into the national Biometric ID Card, the Honourable minister stated that since its inception in June this year, it has been acquired by over 10,000 Gambians.

The most notable accomplishments derived from the Biometric ID Card, according to the Interior Ministry, is that the process for acquiring a Gambian national ID card is now more user-friendly and simple but fraud-proof.

Giving some explanation on when the Biometric system is going to be decentralized “to help the rural populace to have easy access to the new ID cards”, the Justice Minister said: “The decentralization process [of the] Biometric Identification System [BIS] has already started.”

In November [this year] a new branch in the decentralization of the system was inaugurated in Kanifing along the Jimpex Road to give access to the communities in the Kanifing Municipality and its satellite villages, said Hon. Saine Firdaus.

In various administrative regions around the country, she explained, a survey has been done and sites identified for the introduction of the BIS. “In the Lower River Region, a structure has been identified in Soma at the old Trust Bank building just about 60 metres from the Soma Immigration Post,” she said. “In North Bank Region, a site has been identified along the Farafenni/Bamba Tenda highway just about 90 metres from the main junction linking Farafenni to Lamin Koto.

“In Basse, two strategic locations have been identified: one situated along the Mansajang Highway just opposite Basse Area Council, the other one is situated along the main Basse highway about 125m from the police station. At both sites structures are already in place and refurbishments will begin soon before operations commence in early 2010.”

Mrs Saine-Firdaus said a place has also been identified in Brikama along the Gunjur highway for residents of the Western Region, and sites will soon be identified for residents of Central River Region.

In addition to these new and proposed sites, a Mobile Unit of GAMBIS for the facilitation of the system has been introduced to increase access to the public. This unit will be visiting different venues to issue Bio

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

“No In and Out” NHRJ Governing Body Advises Participants

As the training for fifty (50) human rights journalists get starts, 21st December 2009 at the Gambia Press Union (GPU) , Bakau, the governing body of the Network of Human Rights Journalists (NHRJ) has seriously advised participants to take the training seriously “no in and out” and “be serious” during the course of the training.
Advising participants, Fabakary B. Ceesay communication and public relation officer told participants that the training is for the benefit of all the participants adding that “you need to take this training seriously and make best use of it.
He added “we are all here for the training to equip ourselves and to have knowledge that we are all yearning for so the training as an advantage for your own benefit and utilized the knowledge in executing your functions.”
Ceesay then raised concerns, for what, he describes as many participants are leaving the conference particularly the female participants after the opening ceremony noting that the Network has invited them for the training to be gender balance, while urging them to participate fully.
According to him, “if one part of the society is lacking then the other part is certainly to be lacking”, calling for their participation during the course of the training.
Adding his voice, Musa S. Sheriff, the co-ordinator also told participants to take the training seriously and make best use of it, while denouncing the going of in and out.he concluded.

NHRJ Human Rights Training for Fifty Journalists

The Network of Human Right Journalist (NHRJ) has takes an initiative to promote human rights, justice, fight against prejudice, inequality, discrimination, and impunity, the lack of development and human security and other ill affecting society by training fifty (50) members to qualify and working to high professional standards in the area of human rights.
The training which is underway at the Gambia Press Union (GPU) no.5 Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau sponsored by the United States Embassy in Banjul will run from 21st -25th December 2009.
In his welcoming remarks, the co-ordinator of NHRJ, Musa S. Sheriff said that with this kind of training, he is certain that the Network will achieve its objectives, nationally, regionally, and internationally, as clearly spelled out in the constitution of the Network.
“Considering the numerous challenges confronting our society’s development activities, the Network solicited support from the American Embassy for the establishment of a secretariat and training for our members to enable us to proactive role in promoting human rights and freedom of expression”.
According to Sheriff, freedom of expression is a critical element of building strong democracies society, enhancing civic participation and good governance, and promoting justice and peace.
“We are taking up this initiative to promote human rights, justice, fight against prejudice, inequality, discrimination, and impunity, the lack of development and human security, and other ill affecting society.
“We are up to adding voice to the millions of hardworking Africans, and other parts of the world, we intend to do this training because we are deeply concern with the prevailing hostile environment under which the Gambian media operates, the continued and increasing violation and abuses of human rights, and the power used by the state security agents.”
Co-ordinator Sheriff added that as part of the association’s objectives, is to strengthen the professional competence of print, electronic, and online journalism and seek to improve the performance of journalistic training activities particularly on human rights.
For a media house to work on high professional standards, he said it must have qualified journalists working to high professional standards.
Mr. Sheriff explained that the network is a non-political, non-governmental and non-profit making charitable association of journalists committed to promoting and protecting human and people’s rights as clearly spelled out in the Gambian constitution.
The vision, he went on is to ensure a human rights friendly world by restoring and maintaining a vibrant independent press operation in a democratic and press society adding that this can be achieved through embarking on promotional campaigns and mass media advocacy programs and activities.
Secretary General of GPU, Mr. Emil Touray said that the union is pleased to be associated with such training as it will equip member with in-depth knowledge about human right issues.
He stated that democracy and human rights are essential issues in life noting that human right plays an important role in our life. Human rights are not western concept but universal concepts. He said.
According to him, some of the people know human rights when their rights are violated adding that “we should know our rights even they are not violated, for that to be achieved we need to equip ourselves with the instruments”.
Mr. Touray noted that we should always speak about the truth and explored the truth, share experiences with colleagues.
Sam Sarr Editor-in- chief of Foroya Newspaper stated that it is the duty of the executive, judiciary, legislative and press to work together to make a headway in the country.
He added “if the executives, national assembly, civil society organizations, press and the judiciary all work together in ensuring that fundamental rights and freedom of expression are respected, protected and safe guarded in the country, we will make a headway for our beloved nation.
“We live in the 21st century and democracy is in completed where freedoms, fundamental rights are constantly violated and where impunity is the order of the day.”
He called on all to play their roles in promoting, protecting and safe guarding fundamental rights and freedom.
Fabakary B. Ceesay, communication and public relation officer chaired the occasion.

KMC and Green Seeds Nail Clippings

KMC’s Public Relation Officer Mr. Pa Kalifa Sanyang, has cleared the air concerning issues surrounding the councils deal termination with the Green Seeds Company, a Canadian Waste Collection Consultancy Firm a proposed joint cleansing service.
According to him, the partnership between the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and Green Seed Incorpoted, a Canadian Company has been terminated based on the grounds that the Consultancy Firm has over stated its capacity to the Council.
KMC, he said has reached a joint cleansing service agreement with the Canadian Company on 13th February, 2009 in which local residents within the municipality were supposed to be paying a reasonable amount for refuse collection.
The partnership resulted in the creation of a new company called Kanifing Integrated Waste Management Company, which was to take charge of waste collection, disposal and management within the KMC.
Sanyang went on “the council found out that they do not have sufficient fund and man power to fulfill their part of the agreement,” Pa Kalifa Sanyang told our news editor at his office.
He revealed that most of the information given to the Council by the Canadian Firm’s profile was false and on that basis and in the interest of the people of the Municipality, the Council decided to terminate the partnership.
However, a press release from the Council in February 2009 indicated that as part of the agreement, the Canadian Consultancy Firm was to provide an additional fleet of vehicles for effective waste collection while the Council was to give resources and complimentary man power for a period of five years, after which the entire service was to be handed over to the Council.
Asked why the public was not informed about the consequent developments from February to December, 2009, he reply that they were in consultation with their legal adviser in order to make sure that their decision does not have any legal implication.
PRO Sanyang conceded that initially, the Council did not conduct adequate findings regarding the competence of the Canadian Consultancy firm, Green Seeds Incorporated.
“I should be honest to admit that enough research was not done,” he said, adding that their determination was to have the best of service and that was why they continued to find out whether the Company really has the capacity.
Notwithstanding, he said the Council is still looking for ways and means of securing what he called a productive public-private partnership in order to overcome the challenges they are faced with in refuse management.

Gambian Energy Minister on Fossil Fuel and Fuel Wood

The Gambia relies heavily on fosil fuel and fuel wood to meet her energy demand for cooking, power generation, transportation and other necessities of society, the Deputy Minister of Petroleum has said.
Hon. Teneng Ba M. Jaiteh was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Energy at the 3rd National Energy Show and Exhibition, held at Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC), at the opening of the 3rd National Energy Show and Exhibition.
The event, which runs from the 17th-19th December 2009, aimed at showcasing renewable and alternative energy technologies, energy efficient technologies and other information on how to use some of the devices, where to obtain them and to enable the general public first hand information on lowering energy consumption bills to save money.
The Deputy Minister noted that energy data has it that about 80 per cent of all the country’s energy needs are met from fuel wood, extracted from the forest. “This is already having devastating consequences on our forest cover contributing to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil fertility,” Hon. Jaiteh said.
According to her, the use of fuel leads to emission of greenhouse gases which had been considered a global concern. She also said that the second most widely used energy source is petroleum products, accounting to 16 per cent of the total energy consumption.
“This energy source is not only used in the transport sector, but for all our electricity production. Though there are high prospects for The Gambia to produce its own petroleum products in the future, all petroleum products currently consumed are imported (including Butane Gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG),” she said.
The Representative of the United Nation Development Programme, Dr. Almamy Camara stressed that Gambia’s current energy situation calls for deliberate and aggressive actions to cut down on the importation of petroleum products for electricity generation thereby saving the much needed foreign exchange earnings for other equally important sectors of the national economy.
However he noted that the Government of The Gambia has adopted various measures aimed at promoting the development and use of renewable sources of energy, such as solar energy for water pumping, lighting in rural homes, schools and health facilities.
He pointed out that the energy show and exhibition is therefore relevant for the fact that companies will have the opportunity to showcase their energy technologies and systems and maximize sales.
According to him, consumers will also have the opportunity to know the various offers on the market to help determine their energy needs by way of knowing uses, prices, sale terms etc. It also leads to wide spread application of available technologies and systems, thus leading to a reduction on the demand for petroleum products.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Modou A. Secka pointed out that the show and exhibition is in line with the policies that The Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC) was established in the 1980s, to spearhead developments in these sub-sector activities.
He added that the Ministry of Energy was created in 2007 to facilitate the implementation of the policies of government in that sector. The main objective of establishing GREC under his Ministry is to conduct all forms of research, develop and promote alternative and renewable energy, and vigorously promote energy efficiency, and conservation through out the country.

Highlights of Performance in Some Public Enterprises and Agencies

As Minister Kolley Read the 2010 Budget

The following public enterprises and government agencies were briefly highlighted based on their performance during the year 2009 and was presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs at the National Assembly during the budget speech that was held on 18 December 2009 at the National Assembly Premise, in Banjul.
For the Gambia Ports Authority, here it goes; the financial performance of the Gambia ports authority in 2008 has been satisfactory. Despite the global economic slowdown adversely affecting major foreign shipping companies, the authority registered a growth of 10.6 percent in traffic throughput from 1.14million MT in 2007 to 1.26 million in 2008.
Turnover decreases marginally from D376 million in 2007 to D373 million in 2008 due to the reduction in the authority’s cargo traffic in 2007. Operating profit increases from D20 million in 2007 to 149 million in 2008 but net profit decreases by 51percent from D77 million in 2007to D38 million in 2008 due to the net exchange losses on external debt services. Gross valve of fixed assets stood at D758 million in 2008 compared to D731 million in 2007.
National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), Revenue of the company increased by 4 percent in 2008 to D1.3 million and electricity sales alone accounted for more than 86 percent of the total revenue. The increase in partly due to the existing policy of instilling only payment meters for new applications and replacement of existing credit meters. There is an anticipated loss of more than D200 million for 2008.
Fuel prices in 2008 have negatively impacted on the overall financial performance of the company. Expenditure on fuel and lubricants increased by 98 percent from D241 million in 2007 to D480 million in 2008 while expenditure on energy purchases increased by 29 percent from D639 million. This has led to a worsening liquidity situation making it difficult for the company to meet some of its loan repayments.
Government made a significant payment towards clearing its stock of arrears with NAWEC, the balance to be paid in early 2010, with a commitment to avoid further accumulation of bills. I therefore call on all users of NAMWEC services to promptly settle their bills to enable the company meet its obligations including loan repayment and network expansion. Our drive towards industrialization and transforming the economy of the country cannot be realized without access to affordable and reliable electricity supply. The provision of electricity is capital intensive, and by paying your bills on time, NAWEC will be in a better position to serve us better.
Gambia International Airlines, the turnover of the company decreases by 70 percent from D220 million in 2007 to D65 million in 2008 due to its non participation in the 2008 Hajj.
However, operating result shows a decline in losses from D106.8 million in 2007 to D7.5 million in 2008. For 2010 GIA intends to invest in cargo complex meeting international standards, and modernize the ground handling fleet with a view to providing seamless services at Banjul International Airport.
Asset Management and Recovery Corporation, the corporation generated a total income of D17.4 million in 2008 compared to D14.4 million in 2007, thus generating a net surplus of D2.3 million. The overall performance for 2009 is promising, as at the end September 2009, the corporation realized D13.6 million against a budgeted sum of D13.5 million, indicating that targets are being met. The corporation will continue to engage the Gambia armed forces with the view to resolving the impasse on the boundary of piece of land at old Yundum which is negatively impacting on its performance.
Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, total turnover of the authority as at 31st August 2009 amounted to D89 million with an operating loss of D5 million. Air traffic through the Banjul international airport for the eight month is recorded at 195, 706 passengers a reduction of 7 percent from the 2008 passenger traffic.
The aircraft movement for the period is 2204, a reduction of 17 percent from 2008 figure of 2666, and is envisaged to increase by 10 percent in 2010. It is also projected that cargo throughput will increase by 10 percent in 2009 to 799 tons. In general, economic activity at the Banjul international airport is expected to improve in 2010 with gradual recovery of the world economy and increase in the frequency of Brussels airlines, the introduction of Royal Air Marco and the intention of Delta Air lines to commence operations in the Gambia.
Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation consolidated gross increased from D268.7 million in 2007 to D502.05 million in 2008 while recurrent expenditure increased from D98.7 million to D255.33 million. Thus, the corporation recorded a consolidated net surplus of D971.1 million. The total net Assets grew from D3.09 billion in 2007 to D3.5 billion in 2008.
The number of registered establishments in the federated pension fund (FPS) and the national provident fund (NPF) increased to 79 and 3508 respectively, while employee membership increased to 9124 and 88170. The industrial injuries compensation fund (IICF) registered a total of 11, 144 civil servants and 1,296 local authority employees, and made total compensation payments of D1.79 million against D0.74 million in 2007.
In line with government’s policy to decentralize basic facilities and services, SSHFC embark on the acquisition and banking of prime residential land in all region of the country. To date a total of 15 sites have been acquired including the sites at Faraba -Banta, Kanilai, Soma, Kwinella, and Jappineh.
The housing project at Kanilai is planned for a two phase development, commencing with 350 serviced plots as phase 1, with the provision of 100 percent electricity and water supplies and selected roadwork. It will also construct residential accommodation for both students and staff of the new science academy.
For the national GSM service provider GAMCEL for the past years made success in providing affordable, reliable and cost effective mobile phone service to the Gambian population. In this regard, GAMCEL is implementing various projects to extend the network coverage in the greater Banjul area (GBA) and the rural area.
The BSS software upgrade would enable GAMCEL effectively perform the operations and maintenance of its access network and to provide data services.
In addition to its current access network of 79 cell sites, mostly located in the greater Banjul area, GAMCEL planned to develop 48 additional cell sites to ensure nationwide coverage. The implementation of this project will provide and/or improve coverage in the following areas: Bunding Borehole, Jambur, Upper Salagi, Brikama- Kabafita, Basori, Kalagi, and Bati -Ndar, Sami- Pochongi, Baja kunda and Kumbija.
The planned project also includes the network expansion of 33BTS cell sites with the replacement of the existing legacy mobile switching centre (MSC) WITH 3G technology.
GAMOPST, the year 2010 will mark the fourth year of GAMPOST’S operations as an autonomous body. On inception, GAMPOST formulated a three year strategic plan for 2007-2010.the following targets were achieved as part of this plan (I) provision of western union money transfer services, (ii) internet café services at the Serrekunda and Bakau branches, (iv) changed working hours and (v) increase provincial mail delivery service from twice to three times weekly. In 2009, pre-tax profit is projected at D1.835 million from a turnover of D19.439 million.
Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), has also registered a steady growth in revenue collection since its inception in 2006.revenue collection grew by 18 percent between 2006and 2007 and 1% between 2007and 2008.the same positive trend in revenue growth is expected to continue in 2009.
The HIPC completion point for the Gambia may not have been realized without the revenue reforms introduce by Government which heralded a new dawn in the annals of the revenue administration. This reform initiative and the accompanying legislative reforms has helped strengthened tax administration and improved voluntary tax compliance.
GRA aims to achieve a dual role of ensuring increased domestic revenue mobilization while improving service delivery to our esteemed taxpayers. Recently, the Kanifing tax office next to the Gambia bureau of statistics was inaugurated housing the large taxpayers unit and the Serrekunda and Bakau tax office.
This provides an ideal environment for administering taxes and convenience for the taxpayers. It will also help to decongest the headquarters particularly during the periods for the payment of taxes.
To strengthen tax administration and improve voluntary compliance, the authority continues to introduce modern ICT tools, including, ASYCUDA++ and Gamtaxnet. The ASYCUDA++ is an improved and modernized version of ASYCUDA v2.7 which has now been found inadequate for legitimate trade and efficiency of customs clearance, whilst the government will help enhance efficiency in the collection of domestic taxes.
National Roads Authority (NRA), the Government has made a significant progress in the improvement of the Gambia’s road network. With the completion of the Kerewan-Farafenni road and the Farafenni-Lamenkoto Road, movement of people and goods in the north bank region has significantly improved. With Serrekunda-Mandinaba Road now complete and Mandinaba-Soma in progress, the construction of Sankulay Kunda Bridge is expected to provide a big boost in the road sector.
The Economic Commission (EC) funded roads project is designed to promote regional connectivity. The Mandinaba-Seleti road was inaugurated as part of the 2009 July 22nd celebrations. Barra-Amdali road is almost complete, while Soma-Basse Wellingara and Trans-Gambia road are in progress. These roads will improve accessibility within the Gambia and connectivity with Senegal.
In terms of road maintenance, the conditions of major roads in the Kanifing Municipality, Western and North Bank Regions have been improved. Rehabilitation works is progress Banjul-Serekunda highway. The Gambia’s feeder roads are no exception. The western region feeder roads project funded by the Taiwanese Government has taken care of four important roads in the Foni districts which were all inaugurated as part of the 2009 July 22ndcelerations. The construction of the Brikama-Dumbaya road is due to commence soon.
Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) also continues to play an active role in the utility and consumer protection. The Authority rolled out various stakeholder awareness and education campaigns and creates avenues and platforms such as the consumer parliament and a help line (148) for handling consumer complaints.
The promotion of energy efficiency has been made a national issue as a result of PURA’s advocacy, especially in the use of energy-efficient lighting. Also a memorandum of understanding was signed with the department of state for water resources to cooperate in water quality testing, ensuring that drinking water is tasted on a quarterly basis to ensure that it adheres to the WHO standards.
Early this year PURA embark on an electricity and water tariff study with the objective of developing tariff guidelines and models for unbundled generations, transmission and distribution in line with the electricity Act 2005, and to ensure competition and sustainable supply of electricity.
The tariff model the emanated from the study resulted in electricity a price being reduced with effect from 4th November 2009as follows: Industrial customers 19% commercial customer 15% Area councils/central Governments/Agriculture 12% and Residential customers 4%. A similar study is being carried out in the telecoms sector to review the international call charges with the view of reaching a more equitable pricing structure.

2010 Sketch Out Returns Pegged at D5.474 Billion

The 2010 budget for total revenue is D5.474 million, according to the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Hon. Abdou Kolley reading the budget at the National Assembly of Friday 18 December 2009. The 2010 budget which is based on a sound Macroeconomic Policy Framework to support growth, maintain Low Inflation and Improve Debt Sustainability.
The budget speech that lasted for one hour fifteen minutes was presented before National Assembly Members, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Civil Society Organisations, UN Agencies, Diplomats, Press, individuals among others.
According to Minister Kolley, the 2010 Budget represents a decisive step by Government to tackle The Gambia’s heavy debt burden, in particular interest payments on domestic debt. This budget, he added, aims to reduce debt and create savings that could become an important resource for other non-interest expenditures.
Central Bank of The Gambia, Kolley stated is working closely with the Government in which he believes can a sound budget implementation adding that the Treasury bill yields can be significantly reduced in the months ahead.
”Total revenue and grant is expected to increase from its budget of D4.582 billion in 2009 to 5.474 billion in 2010. This is driven mainly by increases in tax revenues, projects grants and budget support. Tax revenue is projected to increase from its figure of D3.39 billion in 2009 to D3.991 billion in 2010, representing 18.5 per cent of GDP. The overall increase in grants from a budget of D811 million in 2009 to 1.061 billion in 2010 is mainly due to expected increases in project disbursements from D513 million to D636 million and additional HIPC and EU budget support of D425 million.”
He continued the Expenditure and Net Lending is projected to increase from D5.363 billion in 2009 to D5.772 billion in 2010. An interest payment on debt is projected to decline from a budget of D845 million in 2009 to D762 million in 2010. Other current expenditures, including externally financed, are projected to rise from D4.461 billion in 2009 to D4.948 billion in 2010, of which Personnel Emoluments is expected to increase from D1.035 billion in 2009 to D1.499 billion in 2010.
He noted that the Budget deficit for 2010 is projected at D298.7 million representing 1.39 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This deficit will be fully financed through domestic and external resources. The net-external financing is estimated at D354.7 million while net domestic financing, which includes repayment of arrears and domestic loans is in the sum of D120 million. Proceeds from capital revenue is equivalent to D64 million.
On some highlights of the revenue and policy measures for 2010, Minister Kolley said that the Economic growth and development of any nation depends to a large extent on a vibrant private sector saying that time has come for that private sector to be more proactive, more enterprising and forward-looking and willing to invest with a long term perspective.
“I would also call on private sector operators to consider joining forces to create medium to large businesses that can benefit from economies of scale and complete better in an ever-increasing competitive environment.” He stated.
In the past, he said the Government has offered several incentives to the business community but these benefits have, in many instances, not translated into increased production and productivity, employment generation or meaningful reduction in prices.
This “one-sided partnership” has to change if the ideals of a private sector led growth are to be realized. It is worth noting that fiscal incentives are not meant to be permanent, but to facilitate the growth and development of a business and addressing specific development concerns.
The Government, he promise will continue to create an environment conducive to private sector growth, but is will not be up to private sector operators to seize the opportunity so that together we move this country forward. The reduction in interconnection charges in the telecommunications sector in the past two years, and the recent reduction in electricity tariffs are all measures aimed at improving the competitiveness of The Gambian business environment.
While the government reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive tax reform in the coming years, the corporate tax will be gradually reduced, starting with a two percent reduction from 35 per cent to 33 per cent for 2010. Similarly, the turnover tax will be reduced by 0.5 per cent.
“As an incentive for voluntary compliance with our business and tax laws and regulations, including keeping of proper books of accounts, subsequent reduction in corporate tax will only be applicable to businesses that have satisfactorily submitted audited accounts for the preceding year to the GRA. Meanwhile, the implementation of the tax on interest income has been different.
“In as much as voluntary compliance is highly desirable and encouraged, no effort will be spared to strict enforcement of, and compliance with, the country’s tax laws. Indeed, the creation of a competitive business environment also calls for greater transparency and accountability on the part of operators.”
Furthermore, following the completion of a nationwide Rental Property Survey, Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) will embark on a more rigorous collection of taxes on rented properties within the taxable threshold.

Gambian Citizens to Pay More on Tax, National Documents…

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Abdou Kolley has told the august assembly at the National Assembly, while presenting the 2010 budget told the gathering that excise on tax, national identification documents; road tax etc will all be increase in the year 2010.
This information was presented Friday 18 December2009 at the National Assembly in Banjul, according to Kolley, it could be recalled that, in 2008, Government zero-rated the sales tax on rice as a policy measure to minimize the impact of the food crises, thus foregoing significant revenues. “Now that we have passed the episode of high food prices and in a bid to encourage local agricultural production, Government would restore the sales tax on imported rice to 5 per cent level.”
He added that the excise tax on alcoholic products and un-manufactured tobacco will be increased in the following order: Un-manufactured tobacco from D26.04 per kilo to D75 per kilo; Wine from D100 per litre to D150 per litre; and Beer from D75 per litre to D100 per litre.
Minister Kolley noted that significant investment is being made to enhance the security features of our national identification documents by going biometric, and as a result, the cost of these documents will be increased as follows: Drivers License from D300 to D500; Provisional Learner’s License from D50 to D100; International Drivers License from D500 to 100; Passport from D500 to D1000. Furthermore, Personalised Number Plates from D2500 to D5000.
For the Road Tax Private and the Motor Vehicle Yearly License Private were last reviewed fifteen years ago. Consequently, Road tax Private will be increased as follows: Less than 1 ton, from D163 to D300; 1 to 2.5 tons from D205 to D400; and 2.5 and above from D251 to D500. The Motor Vehicle Yearly License Private will be increased as follows: 1 ton from D221 to D400; 1 to 2.5 tons from D342 to D600; and 2.5 and above from D506 to D1000.
Although the Police will still be responsible for the technical aspects of issuing vehicle number plates and motor vehicle licenses, all payments for road tax, vehicle licenses and number plates will henceforth be made with The Gambia Revenue Authority.
The license and the plates will only be issued by the police upon presentation of a Gambia Revenue Authority payment receipt adding that this will enhance revenue administration, while allowing the police to concentrate on their core functions.
The personal income tax structure is being reviewed to bring it in line with the prevailing economic conditions and to make it more progressive, fairer and revenue productive.
Also, the audit and enforcement capacity of the Department of Domestic Taxes of GRA is being strengthened in anticipation of planned introduction of a value added tax (VAT) system in place on or before January 2013. These reform measures are aimed at ensuring that our tax system remains efficient and equitable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Magnitude of Money Laundering in The Gambia Difficult to Determine

The laundering of illicit money is increasingly a major problem in The Gambia, but its magnitude or severity remains relatively difficult to determine,
This latest information can be found in the Inter-governmental Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) 2008 annual report.
The Report highlighted issues such as porous borders, weak controls, prevailing poverty, dominance of cash transactions, poor know your customer (KYC) compliance culture, massive inflows of tourists and anecdotal evidence of increasing drug-related and other criminal activities are all factors contributing to an increase in the money laundering risk in The Gambia.
Within its limited resources and capacity, the Report said The Gambia has passed various laws and regulations that are directly or indirectly relevant to anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CFT) in the country. “These include the Money Laundering Act 2003; the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002; Economic Crimes (Specified Offences) Decree 1994; the Drug Control Act 2003; and the Revised Regulations for the Operation of Foreign Exchange Bureaux 2005.”
However the 2008 Report argued that all these laws need to be updated and mordanised. Efforts to amend these laws have unfortunately not been successful until now, despite ongoing official collaboration with the West African inter-governmental group against money laundering (GIABA) to this end.
“Although an inter-agency committee has been set up and may have played an important role in the drafting of the 2003 Money Laundering Act and related legislations, it has remained an ad hoc, tentative body,” the West African group said.
In terms of implementing the provisions of the law, the committee has not truly played an effective coordinating and enforcement role, given the reported frequent movement of staff, lack off commitment by some members and the low priority accorded to money laundering control measures in an environment of severe constraints on capacity and resources.
However, it is pertinent to note the relevant agencies and their respective roles in the AML/CFT implementation in The Gambia. These include the Department of for Finance and Economic Affairs, the Central Bank, the Department of State for Interior and Justice and the National Drug Enforcement Agency.
According to the Report, the Department of State for the Interior has statutory coordinating and oversight responsibilities in the implementation of the AML/CFT laws, as the supervisory ministry for the police, immigration service and the national drug enforcement agency.
In April 2008, the Report said GIABA undertook a short assessment mission to Banjul in order to evaluate The Gambia’s readiness to establish its financial intelligence unit (FIU) and anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CFT) Committee.
“It was found that much of the work had been accomplished and that several concerns were several concerned authorities were ready to push forward with the task,” it stated.
As a result of this mission, written guidelines for the establishments of FIU’s and of AML/CFT Committees were formulated and published by the West African body (GIABA), and were distributed to all countries in the region, for their information.
Notwithstanding, the report indicated that despite some progress with the designation of promises and appointment of members, the FIU and AML/CFT Committee are yet to be fully operational. “There has been little progress, despite official assurances that things would moving along. This is hard to comprehend and seems to be linked to a question of fundamental will,” the GIABA mission to The Gambia reports.
Perhaps the results of the Mutual Evaluation, in addition to some pressure being exerted by GIABA and by sister countries which are establishing their FIUs, will compel the country to finally comply with international standards and move forward in they called a critical area.
It stressed that, laws need to be revised, the FIU needs to become operational and the National Strategy needs to be formulated. “This remains a challenge for the coming year,” the Report concluded.

Monday, December 21, 2009

US Embassy December Extravaganza

“Grab your jacket and get ready for a laugh”

The Alumni Association of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) of The Gambia in partnership with the Embassy of United States of America in Banjul invites the public to their first Cultural Bazaar Extravaganza at Sahel Relax Country Club Saturday 26th December 2009, from 11: 00am until 5: 00 pm.
This information was contained in a publication made by the US Embassy in Banjul; The IVLP is an International Visitors program that invites distinguished community leaders to exchange programs in the United States (US). The invitation to visit the U. S. Leadership program is extended by each U. S. embassy around the globe.
The released added that “Since its inception almost seven decades ago more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Governments, 2, 000 Cabinet-level Ministries, and many, many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors. Since 1963 to date the US Embassy has sent over 320 Gambians through this very important program.”
The goal of this event, US Embassy publication explained that is to bring together IVLP alumni members, their families and the Gambian public to celebrate the important significance of the unique exchange program and our diverse cultures.
In celebration of the International Visitors Leadership Program “there will be an entertainment, includes food, drink and also called on the public to come and play various sport tournaments such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, and playstation to win tournament prize.”
The entrance fee is D50 and for children and IVLP members the entrance at the door is free for them.
The U.S Embassy will present Sunday Night at the Movies, open to the public for free of Charge for entrance.
For the location of the Beach for one not to get lost is between Luigi’s Restaurant and Dunes.
This is the hilarious story (base on true events) of the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the Olympics. “Grab your jacket and get ready for a laugh” the released concluded.

In Gambia, “orphans are Abuse, Their Inheritance Mismanaged”

Alhagie Jaiteh, an Islamic Scholar residing in Serrekunda, in an exclusive interview, at his resident on the 21st December 2009 has observed that orphans are prone to abuse and their inheritance usually mismanaged making life difficult for them.
Jaiteh added that there need to be attitudinal changes towards orphans, which, he said impedes the socio-economic development of our country.
“Orphans children need to be given the opportunity to grow with a healthy mind as both the family and the nation as a whole can benefit. We should also be committed to equal opportunities for all irrespective of sex of the orphan child”.
He revealed that over 64,000 orphans are in the Gambia as he could recalled been told at one forum by the director of Social Welfare, Mrs. Fanta Bai Secka.
Jaiteh called on religious and traditional leaders to ensure that society is educated on issues affecting orphans and the care should be provided according to the Islamic principles.
“Islam has made provision for the protection of children before birth and after birth”. He said
He urged all to share certain basic values and assumptions such as concern for one and other, love, affection and humour for each other, help and support in bad times, Joy in good times, as well as recognizing one another’s strength and weakness.
According to Jaiteh, “we are witnessing a lot of changes in our various societies; the way of life of the society has changed dramatically. The world is now a smaller place and counties are affected by development”.
He therefore added that improves information sharing and dialogue and common understanding are the best ways of forging tolerance for our differences.

Presenters, Politicians, Journalists Others Decries Low Turn out

As Gambia Remembers Slain Journalist

As Symposium marking the 5th Anniversary of the Assassination of Deyda Hydara, organised by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) at the TANGO Hall, Kanifing, also predominantly dominated by media personnel by 95 percent as stated by various speakers.
Omar Jallow alias OJ of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) said that “we should celebrate the life of Deyda’s achievements but not how many years he live” as OJ says “Some people have lived for hundred years, some with millions of dollars but they are not remember but for Deyda he is still alive and speaking to us his death is forgotten.”
He stressed that it is a shame that 95 percent of the attendants are from the press.
“IT is a shame on us, government, politicians, civil society activities, NGO’s for failing to turn out in large numbers.”
As he puts it, none of the said above can do its work s, implement its projects without passing the press. “Where are our allies, government, civil society organisations, and individuals,” he said, adding that most of whom without the press their institutions are worthless. He repeated by shouting loudly.
He said that “if Gambia claims to be democratic, there cannot be any democracy without a free press. We fought for independence and sent colonial masters parking saying that we want freedom, but today some of us are freer in European cities or America than in Africa. “It is a Shame”, “a shame”.
Proprietor of Gambia News and Report Magazine, Swaebou Conateh laments that the Gambia Radio and Television Services speaks with one voice and others from the private press cannot have access to it. The television and the radio, Conateh said are for all of us,” he argued.
Veteran Journalist Conateh position that for the print media “we need to unite for the sake of development, we are very much divided and some of us are informers.”
Stick to the ethics of the profession; he told hall full of journalists to leave the hall thinking about their situations and to be like other journalists in other parts of the world. “Freedom of expression is important, that is what Deyda stood for and today he is a shining example for all Gambian Journalists to follow suit, journalism is free, we should be free,” he stressed.
Madam Amie Bojang -Sissoho, Programme Officer , The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices affecting The Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) stressed that unless the pubic realise that the media is working in their interest, we will continue to see situations where the public distance themselves from media grievances. “Unless and until we realise that what we are doing is not for others but with our concerns people will continue to censor themselves and that is why there are many rumors spreading in the country because there is no freedom of the press.
“If public officers think that what they are doing is for them then they are not at their concerns,” she said.
Mr. Ba Trawally Journalist/ Researcher stated that freedom is the base of everything that we are talking about. He said that democracy; rule of law, good governance is all derived from the word freedom. “I am not addressing you, I am addressing the nation,” he argued.
The Doyen of Gambian Journalism Trawally said that freedom is not given on a silver plate; it should be demanded, fought for and exercised.
He went on to mention that “we have Freedom of Expression, Association, Assembly etc are all clearly stipulated in our Gambian Constitution and we need to exercise them accordingly”. He concluded.
Bijou Peters veteran journalist, adding her voice said that the culture of silence must be stopped in the Gambian society noting that culture of silence is the order of the day in today’s Gambia where everyone is not ready to speak out.
According to her, in today’s Gambia if a journalist is harassed, attacked or detained many are not willing to speak out, saying that “ we must raised our voices if a journalist is attack, arrest etc in the country.”
Madam peters stated that she is very sad since the death of Deyda that she don’t read anything on the newspapers that the government is not happy but for Hydara he will be ever remembered for his famous column “GOOD MORNING MR. PRESIDEN” which she added addresses issues concerning the government and its people.
Mr. Madi Njie Chairman of The Network Human Rights Journalists–Gambia (NHRJ), Alieu Darboe of Daily Newspaper, Assan Sallah Daily Observer/President of Young Journalist Association (YJAG), Alieu Bah among others all spoke at length at the symposium.

Symposium on Murdered Journalist, a Success , GPU Sidelines State Media

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on Wednesday 16th December, 2009 held a symposium at TANGO Conference Hall in Kanifing on the murder of Deyda Hydara as commemoration marking the 5th Anniversary of Deyda’s murder.
The conference hall was full to capacity with journalists, civil society activists, women rights, politicians and the family members of the murdered journalist from all walks of life around the country.
However, the Press Union sidelines the state media as they were not given an invitation to grace the occasion. Media houses like the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) Television, the Radio and Gambia Info.
Deyda Hydara, The Co-Founder of The Point Newspaper, Former President and Advisory to The Gambia Press Union was brutallly murdered in cold blood by yet unknown gunman/men on the 13th Anniversary of The Point, at the early hours of December 16, 2004.
Sarata Jabbie -Dibba Vice President GPU, who chair the ceremony, described Deyda as a good man and a good journalist.
“Deyda addressed the concerns of the ordinary people until his last day, he fought for the rights of the people and freedom of the press,” she recalled. She added: “access to information fosters accountability as a matter of good governance.”
The Managing Editor of The Point, Pap Saine spoke on a short biographical account of the late Deyda Hydara. He started by noting that as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of his assassination, we are also celebrating his wife’s birthday as well as the 18th anniversary of The Point Newspaper.
He said that Deyda was born in Dobson Street, Banjul on 9th June, 1946. His father (Baba Hydara) was a Mauritanian immigrant, who settled in Banjul running a grocery shop, while mother (Halima Faal) was a native of Kaur in the Upper River Region.
According to Saine, Deyda started his education at the Alliance Francaise, a French elementary school in Banjul.
In 1969, he said that Deyda was sent to study at Lycee Gaston Berger in Kaolack, Senegal, after which he proceeded to Universite de Dakar (Cheikh Anta Diop University). He started his career as a deejay at Radio Syd in 1970 and was a producer and programme manager in 1976.
Earlier on in 1974, Deyda started his career as a journalist with Agence France Presse. He also worked for the Senegambia Sun as a special correspondent, Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF). He served as treasurer of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA).
He also noted that Deyda also served as the president of the GPU from 1998 to 2004, and later served as an adviser to the Union, while working as editor of The Point from 1994 to 2004.
The Publisher/Proprietor of The Daily News and Director Media Agenda, Mr. Madi MK. Ceesay presented a paper on Freedom and Responsibility in the Media, but prior to his presentation, Ceesay called on the authorities to renew investigations into the death of Deyda Hydara.
“The earlier the better for us all, it is not in the interest of Gambian journalists neither in the interest of the government, it is in the interest of us all,” he stated.
It is five years since he was murdered, “why did it take this long to apprehend the perpetrators”, he asked rhetorically”.
Ceesay cited attacks on the media, cases of harassment, intimidation, acts of arson, detentions that have lingered on the annals of the history of Gambian journalists and attempted murder with impunity from 2000-2009.
He says “You will all recall that on April 10, 2000, Omar Barrow of the now closed down Sud FM was shot dead while providing live coverage of a student’s demonstration.
He also said that in July 2002, the Gambia’s parliament passed a law requiring all journalists to register with a government appointed media commission. The commission was empowered to try and jail journalists as well as compel journalists to disclose their sources.
In the same year, Ebrima Sillah, BBC correspondent in The Gambia was arrested and briefly detained by a National Intelligence Agency after he reported on growing tension between The Gambia and neighboring Guinea Bissau.
Still on the list, he noted that Lamin Njie, reporter with The Independent, was arrested by the Serious Crime Unit of The Gambia Police Force in connection with a story caption “Lets Take To The Streets”, published in the September 29, 2003 edition of the newspaper. This follows an interview he made with the leader of the National Democratic Action Movement (NDAM), Party Leader and Secretary General Lamin Waa Juwara.
He also recalled that in April 13, 2004 state Guard Soldiers attacked and burnt the new printing press of The Independent. The arsonist burst into the newspaper’s premises in the early hours of the day while nine men were busy printing and compiling an edition of the newspaper. Some of the workers suffered gunshot wounds when the arsonists opened fire to prevent them from escaping the fire. The leaders of the arsonists were named in parliament by Opposition Member of Parliament Hamat Bah, as Corporals Sana Manjang and Sheriff Gisseh, who also served as Guards of the State House and their commander Major Kalifa Bajinka. The accusation was not investigated and the suspects were neither arrested nor prosecuted.
He also made reference to the recent arrests of six Gambian journalists, after the publication of a reaction on the President’s statement on the late Deyda Hydara, in an interview with the state television.
According to him, reports on the Gambia’s world ranking in terms of press freedom stand at 72, as indicated by Freedom House International, United States of America. He cited The Gambia, Senegal and Ghana as examples of non-free, partially free and free according to Freedom House’s ranking in press freedom, based on legal, political and economic environment.
Madi Jobarteh of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Foundation of Legal Aid Research and Empowerment (FLARE) presenting a paper on why Freedom and Access to Information Act Matters, said that the basic truth is that Gambia did not have a freedom of information law but have ratified all the other international conventions. “The only instrument that was domesticated is the Children’s Act.
According to him, the Freedom of Information Act states that access to information should only be restricted where as it will jeopardize the security of any state. “The US has this law for 42 years now and Sweden has had it for over 200 years, these countries are still progressing by the day,” he explained.
He argued that freedom fighters have over the years been using the press to attain liberty and any attempt to curtail this freedom is meant to gag the press. He added that Nelson Mandela once noted that it is a critical and independent press that is the life blood of every society.
He referred the audience to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
“Freedom of information can never become a reality if there is limited access to information in any country,” he said. “There is an urgent need to establish a Freedom of Information Law,” he said.
“While the Constitution of The Gambia guarantees freedom of the press, it is a fact that other laws were established to deny complete freedom of the press,” he noted.
When contacted the Executive Director of the Press Union, Mr. Aloe Ahmed Alota confirm the story saying that “GPU did not send an invitation to GRTS TV/ Radio and Gambia Info.” He said.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Committee To Protect Journalists’ Annual prison census 2009

In Sub-Saharan Africa , 9 out of 10 detained without charge
New York, December 8, 2009—On December 1, a total of 25 journalists were imprisoned in Sub-Saharan Africa in retaliation for their journalism, and nearly 90 percent of these journalists were detained without charges in secret detention facilities, according to an annual census of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Countries as wide ranging as Eritrea, Iran, and the United States were on the list of nations who had imprisoned journalists without charge.
With at least 19 journalists behind bars, Eritrea by far leads the list of shame of African nations that imprison journalists. Eritrea holds this dubious distinction since 2001when the authorities abruptly closed the private press by arresting at least ten editors without charge or trial. The Eritrean government has refused to confirm if the detainees are still alive, even when unconfirmed online reports suggest that three journalists have died in detention. CPJ continues to list these journalists on its 2009 census as a means of holding the government responsible for their fates. In early 2009, the government arrested at least six more journalists from state media suspected of having provided information to news Web sites based outside the country.
Eritrea’s neighbor, Ethiopia ranked second among African nations with journalists in jail. Four journalists were held in Ethiopian prisons, including two Eritrean journalists who are detained in secret locations without any formal charges or legal proceedings since late 2006. The Gambia, with its incommunicado detention of reporter Ebrima Chief Manneh since July 2006, and Cameroon, which has imprisoned the editor of a newspaper since September 2008, completes the list of imprisoned journalists for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Worldwide, a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists were behind bars, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally. The survey also found that freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed across the globe.
China continued to be the world’s worst jailer of journalists, a dishonor it has held for 11 consecutive years. Iran , Cuba , Eritrea , and Burma round out the top five jailers from among the 26 nations that imprison journalists. Each nation has persistently placed among the world’s worst in detaining journalists.
At least 60 freelance journalists are behind bars worldwide, nearly double the number from just three years ago. CPJ research shows the number of jailed freelancers has grown along with two trends: The Internet has enabled individual journalists to publish on their own, and some news organizations, watchful of costs, rely increasingly on freelancers rather than staffers for international coverage. Freelance journalists are especially vulnerable to imprisonment because they often do not have the legal and monetary support that news organizations can provide to staffers.
“The days when journalists went off on dangerous assignments knowing they had the full institutional weight of their media organizations behind them are receding into history,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon . “Today, journalists on the front lines are increasingly working independently. The rise of online journalism has opened the door to a new generation of reporters, but it also means they are vulnerable.”
The number of online journalists in prison continued a decade-long rise, CPJ’s census found. At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail. Print reporters, editors, and photographers make up the next largest professional category, with 51 cases in 2009. Television and radio journalists and documentary filmmakers constitute the rest.
The number of journalists imprisoned in China has dropped over the past several years, but with 24 still behind bars the nation remains the world’s worst jailer of the press. Of those in jail in China, 22 are freelancers. The imprisoned include Dhondup Wangchen, a documentary filmmaker who was detained in 2008 after recording footage in Tibet and sending it to colleagues overseas. A 25-minute film titled “Jigdrel” (Leaving Fear Behind), produced from the footage, features ordinary Tibetans talking about their lives under Chinese rule. Officials in Xining , Qinghai province, charged the filmmaker with inciting separatism.
Most of those imprisoned in Iran, the world’s second-worst jailer, were swept up in the government’s post-election crackdown on dissent and the news media. Of those, about half are online journalists. They include Fariba Pajooh, a freelance reporter for online, newspaper, and radio outlets. Radio France International reported that she was charged with “propagating against the regime” and pressured to make a false confession.
“Not long ago, Iran boasted a vigorous and vital press community,” CPJ’s Simon added. “When the government cracked down on the print media, journalists migrated online and fueled the rise of the Farsi blogosphere. Today, many of Iran’s best journalists are in jail or in exile, and the public debate has been squelched alongside the pro-democracy movement.”
Cuba , the third-worst jailer, is holding 22 writers and editors in prison, all but two of whom were rounded up in Fidel Castro’s massive 2003 crackdown on the independent press. Many have seen their health deteriorate in inhumane and unsanitary prisons. The detainees include Normando Hernández González, who suffers from cardiovascular ailments and knee problems so severe that even standing is difficult. Hernández González was moved to a prison hospital in late October.
With Eritrea as the world’s fourth-worst jailer, Burma is the fifth with nine journalists behind bars. Those in custody include the video-journalist known publicly as “T,” who reported news for the Oslo-based media organization Democratic Voice of Burma and who helped film an award-winning international documentary, “Orphans of the Burmese Cyclone.” Journalism is so dangerous in Burma , one of the world’s most censored countries, that undercover reporters such as “T” are a crucial conduit to the world.
The Eurasian nations of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan placed sixth and seventh on CPJ’s dishonor roll. Uzbekistan is holding seven journalists, among them Dilmurod Saiid, a freelancer who exposed government agricultural abuses. Azerbaijan is jailing six reporters and editors, including investigative journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, a 2009 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee. A seventh Azerbaijani journalist, Novruzali Mamedov died in state custody in August, after authorities denied him adequate medical care.
Here are other trends and details that emerged in CPJ’s analysis:
• About 47 percent of journalists in the census are jailed under antistate charges such as sedition, divulging state secrets, and acting against national interests, CPJ found. Many of them are being held by the Chinese, Iranian, and Cuban governments.
• In about 12 percent of cases, governments have used a variety of charges unrelated to journalism to retaliate against critical writers, editors, and photojournalists. Such charges range from regulatory violations to drug possession. In the cases included in this census, CPJ has determined that the charges were most likely lodged in reprisal for the journalist’s work.
• Violations of censorship rules, the next most common charge, are applied in about 5 percent of cases. Charges of criminal defamation, reporting “false” news, and engaging in ethnic or religious “insult” constitute the other charges filed against journalists in the census.
• Internet and print journalists make up the bulk of the census. Radio journalists compose the next largest professional category, accounting for 7 percent of cases. Television journalists and documentary filmmakers each account for 3 percent.
• The worldwide tally of 136 reflects a 9 percent increase over 2008 and represents the third-highest number recorded by CPJ in the past decade. (The decade high came in 2002, when CPJ recorded 139 journalists in jail.)
• The United States, which is holding freelance photographer Ibrahim Jassam without charge in Iraq, made CPJ’s list of countries jailing journalists for the sixth consecutive year. During this period, U.S. military authorities have jailed numerous journalists in Iraq —some for days, others for months at a time—without charge or due process. U.S. authorities appear to be using this tactic less frequently over the past two years.
CPJ believes that journalists should not be imprisoned for doing their jobs. The organization has sent letters expressing its serious concerns to each country that has imprisoned a journalist. Over the past year, CPJ advocacy helped lead to the release of at least 45 imprisoned journalists.
CPJ’s list is a snapshot of those incarcerated at midnight on December 1, 2009. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year; accounts of those cases can be found at www.cpj.org. Journalists remain on CPJ’s list until the organization determines with reasonable certainty that they have been released or have died in custody.
Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities, including criminal gangs, rebels, or militant groups, are not included on the imprisoned list. Their cases are classified as “missing” or “abducted.”



According to reports reaching MANSA BANKO have revealed that the management and staff of Social Security and Housing Finance Coperation (SSHFC) on the 19 December 2009 will ogranised a lunch at 12:30 pm for pensioner's at the Joint Officer's Mess, Kotu.
Reports added that SSHFC will provide transport for all the pensioner's that wishes to attend the lunch noting that six(6) buses have already been secured to transport them to the Joint Officer's Mess.
Buses will be provided from Banjul SSHFC Office, Brikama GPTC, Tabokoto Junction, Bakoteh Petrol Station, Old Jeshwang and Bundung, the buses will be passing many places and their final destination will be at the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu.

Today is Budget Speech

Honorable Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Abdou Kolley will today Friday 18 December 2009 deliver the budget at the National Assembly building in Banjul.
It is a legal requirements for the presentation of the government budget to the National Assembly as detail out in the 1997 Constitution, and the budget Management and Accountability Act of 2004

Thursday, December 17, 2009


With the aid of its development in youth development, the National Youth Council (NYC) on the 7th December 2009 celebrated the African Youth Day at the Friendship Hotel, Bakau with a match past of children’s.
It was in July 2006, the African Union (AU) heads of state and governments declared the year 2008 as the year of the African Youth Year (YAY), and was officially launched in 15 February 2009 by the second ordinary session of the Conference on Ministers in charged of youth (COMYII) in Addis Ababa
COMYII youth year and the declaration of the African Youth Charter (AYC) by heads of states and governments.
This year’s commemoration theme “Africa Youth for Peace and Development”
Addressing the gathering, Executive Secretary of the NYC, Mr. Marchel Mendy thanked all the youths that make it possible to attend the commemoration of such an important in the annals of our history.
According to Mendy, this year’s theme is in line with key provisions of the African Youth Charter, relating to youth in conflict situation, and the enhancement of youth participations, in development and reconstruction processes.
He added that the theme also implies that young Africans appreciate the values of peace, respect for human dignity and life, community, family and patriotism.
NYC Mendy explained that youths of The Gambia has played important roles in the development of the country and the continent at large through their participation in numerous development initiatives and processes.
In implementing the theme in the Gambia, Mendy tasked on the government and its development partners to increase their political will, resources allocation and investment in programs that will advance the status of the youth folk as they are the crème of the society and future leaders, “so they need to be shaped” for tomorrow’s betterments.
The Assistant Representative of the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA Dr. Reuben Mboge said that youths played the crucial role in contributing to economic development, poverty reduction etc in any nation.
Mr. Malang Jassey, director of Youth and Sport also spoke at length about the importance of the celebration and the roles youths can play.

UNDP Report Raises Concern over Migration,As many migrants faces hurdle

Migration is a way for Africa to improve their lives, but most often those who seek greener pastures are faced with significant barriers, according to the United Nations Development (UNDP) Report 2009 on migration that was launched at a well-attended and a colorful ceremony at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, 9 December, 2009.
The report is one of the flagship publications of the UNDP which looks at migration through untraditional lenses.
The report dubbed Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, finds that many restrictions and equalities prevent Africans from moving. Restrictions imposed by the limited opportunities of the low skilled to move across boarders mean that money transfers, or remittances do not trend to flow directly to the poorest countries.
The report indicated that, those forced to move because of conflict or natural disasters have also suffered severe hardship. The report estimated that about 14 million are living outside their country of citizenship, representing about 7 percent of the world’s migration. In addition, most migrants remain near the country they fled, typically living in camps until conditions at home allow their return, but around half a million per year travel to developed countries and seek asylum there noting that a much larger number, some 26 million, have been internally displaced.
Overcoming barriers also finds that migrants are significantly constrained by the lack of resources to move and prohibitive entry policies, transaction costs or “Paper Walls” often limit the ability of Africans to migrate. Checkpoints on local roads, where bribes are level, are common place in many\parts of Africa.
The report observes that the exodus of highly skilled workers such as nurses, teachers and donors or “brain drain” is a major concern. To address the issue of brain drain, the report suggested that, countries need to strengthen the delivery of services through institutional reforms and better remuneration at home.

Gov’t Takes Steps to Curb Internal Migration,Says Vice president Njie-Saidy

Internal migration in Africa remains the most common of movement, particularly the youth folk, in which the Gambia is not an exception to this phenomenon.
Many countries have experienced rural urban growth, due to migration from rural areas to major cities, such movement can provide opportunities and economic benefits, but also posed major challenges. Which people may be attracted by services and amenities may become strained. The report dubbed Overcoming barriers. Human mobility and development,
It is against this background, that the government of the Gambia has decentralized its programmed.
These words were stated by the Vice President and Minister for Women’s Affairs Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy at the launching of the 2009 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report on Migration at the Kairaba Beach Hotel 9 December 9, 2009.
She said “through the decentralization programme, the government seeks to bring the rural population closer to key social and economic services and to poverty reduction”
According to her, the government of the Gambia is ever mindful of the immense social and political responsibilities that it owes to the people, in particular the youth folk who constitute the most excited group when it comes to migration, both internally and beyond the national boarders.
Vice president Njie-Saidy said that the size of the urban sector is visibly to small and limited in its ability to meet the needs and expectation of rural migrants moving to urban settlements. To meet the need and expectations of rural migrants, government has put better policies in place for Gambians to participate more meaningfully in the development of the rural sector. She positioned.
Gambian no.2 stated that the rural sector friendly Programmes designed to transform the sector by providing attraction of equal quality and quantity for work, income and sustainable livelihood that is the continual improvement of farming and agriculture, the provision of rural electrification, water, health. sanitary and education facilities etc.
Speaking further, Njie-Saidy pointed that the government is not anti- emigration but condemns and would keep condemning illegal migration for the love and welfare of the nation.
She added, the government is doing all it can to live up to the reality and would forever remain committed to creating the best possible environment that would encourage youths in the rural sector to get access to the same opportunities that they often dream of getting in the urban areas.

Groundnut Farmers Classified As Poorest,Reveals Charge de’ Affairs, EU Hélène Cavè

Groundnut farmers across the country are among the poorest members in The Gambian society due to the sector encountering serious constraints that have adversely affected their flow of investment, output with an added caused of natural disasters says Madam Hélène Cavè Charge de’ Affairs, European Union Delegation in The Gambia.
In a statement read on her behalf by Faustro Perini, Programme Manager, EU Delegation, at handing over of screens and scales equipments to the Gambia Groundnut Cooperation (GGC) and National Research Institute(NARI) on the 16th December 2009, at the GGC Complex, Denton Bridge.
Madam Cavè stated that groundnuts remain the cash crop of the country and its production, handling, processing and marketing engage an important part of the active force.
According to her, groundnut is said to occupy 47 percent of the total cropped area adding that it is a key socio-economic product which provides foreign exchange earnings, food, fodder and revenue for the rural community.
Moreover, she say “groundnut farmers are among the poorest members in Gambian society, thus the sector has a strategic role in reducing poverty as outlined in the Poverty and Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).”
“Unfortunately the sector has recently encountered serious constraints that have adversely affected flow of investment; output, export values and quality of the sector expect last year’s rainfall.”
She added that due to the decline in quality of outputs and to stringent international quality regulations, noting that the Gambia has to make do with the bird feed market and crude groundnut oil.
The EU contribution to the sub-sector, Hélène believed will help to address only part of the challenges the sub-sector is facing.


Dr. Babou Jobe, director of National Research Institute (NARI) has said that the government of The Gambia is concern about quality standards of groundnut and other crops, vegetables grown in the country for its citizens.
Dr. Jobe was speaking at the handing over of screens and scales equipments to the Gambia Groundnut Sub-Sector under the European Union (EU) Funded STABEX Framework of Mutual Obligation (FMO) 1999 Project at a ceremony held on the 16th December 2009, at the Gambia Groundnut Cooperation (GGC) Complex, Denton Bridge.
STABEX FMO 99 was signed in March 2008 to compliment other measures of the groundnut Roadmap Implementation Framework formulated in 2006 with financial support from EU at a tune of 1.6 million Euros for a period of three years.
The project is designed to improve the competitiveness of the groundnut sub[sector with respect to quality assurance.
According to Dr. Jobe, the government of the Gambia in collaboration with Development Partners, particularly the European Union is putting in place the necessary quality assurance system to facilitate the attainment of international quality standard, specifically on aflatoxin contamination and Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) in groundnut in the country.
He pointed out that the government in collaboration with European Union is engaged in reversing the trend of quality standards adding that with the partnership, he is certain that the quality control will be addressed.
Dr. Jobe noted that by putting in place quality standards, “there will be an increased in our export earning by providing safe food for the growing international marketplace” but with high level of contamination of aflatoxin in our groundnut “we cannot meet the international market” and farmers cannot export their groundnuts. He disclosed.
“There are great prospects and potentials for a revitalized groundnut sector, which can impact very positively on rural welfare and poverty reduction.”
Explaining about the STABEX FMO 99 Project, Dr. Jobe said that the project is designed to improve the competitiveness of the groundnut sub-sector with respect to quality assurance that is through technical assistance for the development of a quality assurance framework including an updated legal and regulatory framework. Provision of equipment for testing and analysis mycotoxins (aflatoxin) at laboratory and field levels, provision of grading equipments that is screens and scales to groundnut buying centres (seccos) and rehabilitation of the three Tugboats of GGC river transport fleet.

MoBSE Warns Heads of Public Schools Regional Directors tasked to Monitor

A press release from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), signed by Mr. Kunkung Jobarteh on behalf of the permanent secretary informed all heads of schools that no child should be send home for failing to pay study fees.

The Ministry release added “members of the public are hereby requested to be watchdog and report to the MoBSE any case of a child sent away from school for failing to pay study fees.

“All heads are further informed that disciplinary action would be taken against any school found to be wanting in this light.”

The released therefore tasked all regional directors to monitor and ensure compliance to the directive.

Monday, December 14, 2009


UNICEF and the Government of Spain MADRID, 9 December 2009 signed a special agreement that will provide some €228 million ($336 million) over three years to support programmes that help children in need.
According to a press release from UNICEF below is the full tex of the release
This the new commitment by Spain takes the form of a three-year partnership agreement with UNICEF. It will enable increased activities focussed on the survival of young children, on basic education, on the protection of children, and on advocacy for government policies that support children’s rights and wellbeing, particularly in Africa.
Because this agreement involves a multi-year commitment subject to parliamentary approval, it will provide support for longer-term strategic programmes targeting the causes of problems that children around the world face, rather than simply addressing the consequences of these problems. Predictable financing is vitally important to programmes that provide sustainable solutions.
The commitment was formalized today in a framework agreement signed in Madrid by the Director of the Spanish Cooperation Agency, Elena Madrazo, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson.
The agreement will give additional impetus to a long-standing partnership between UNICEF and Spain, which has also resulted in the provision of urgent assistance to children caught up in humanitarian emergencies.
UNICEF has signed similar framework agreements with 15 other countries – Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland. Their objective is to help meet the needs of children.
An additional agreement was also signed today by UNICEF and the Council of Andalucia, which has agreed to support child development and survival programs in Africa.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Sally Sadie Singhateh, Communication Specialist, UNICEF The Gambia, Tel: 220-449-4760 (Ext-240) ssinghateh@unicef.org


Family Members, GPU to Mark Fifth Year Anniversary

According to reports reaching MANSA BANKO has revealed that the family members of the late Deyda Hydara in Bakau Kachikally will marks the 5th anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara at his residence in Bakau Kachikally with the recitation of the Holy Quran on Wednesday 16 December 2009, from 10 am onwards at his residence..
16 December 2009 will mark the 5th anniversary of the late Deyda Hydara since he departed from this world. The family members and the Management and Staff of The Point Newspaper wish to remind friends and relatives.
As part of the anniversary, the Gambia Press Union (GPU) will also held a symposium on the 16 December 2009 at the Non-Governmental Organisation (TANGO) conference hall at 4pm onwards to mark the 5th anniversary of the assassination of veteran Gambian journalist and co-founder of The Point newspaper. The late Deyda Hydara was murder on the 16 December, 2004.
Topics for the symposium, A) Freedom and Responsibility in the Media

B) Why Freedom and Access to Information Act Matters.

Publishers, Managing Editors, Managing Directors, Staff and Freelance Reporters, Friends of the media fraternity are all cordially invited to attend the Quran recitation and the symposium.


Poorest Households Women Encounter Sex Earlier


The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) that is designed to provide statistically sound and internationally comparable data for monitoring the situation of women and children in The Gambia, in its key findings The Gambia 2005-2006 spelled out that women from the poorest households encounter sex earlier than those from the richest household indicating that Kauntaur, Central River Region North top the list.
According to the MICS the first sexual encounter of women sex is earlier among women in Kauntaur and later in Banjul.

Prostitution, Pornography and Early Marriage Taken Root

As 41.5 percent of adolescent/youth sexually active

As quoted in the Draft Sexual Harassment Policy 2004, a study also conducted in Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in 2003 by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that prostitution, pornography, early marriage and cross-generational sex that are sex between adolescent and adults have taken root in The Gambia “smiling coast of Africa”.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


The government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, 11 December 2009, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three institutions; namely the African Development Bank, European Union and the World Bank for budget support delivery for aid effectiveness in The Gambia, at a ceremony held at the Finance ministry's conference hall in Banjul.
The signing MoU officials revealed is to sets a partnership framework for a common approach to budget support, with the main objective to harmonise development partner's budget support programmes within the existing administrative and statutory provision as stipulated in the bilateral financing arrangement with participating partners.
Signatory parties have embraced the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, through alignment and harmonisation agenda. However, in the new MoU, parties agreed to create a common approach to development programming, implementation and evaluation between the government of The Gambia and development partners.
The programmes according to them will also provide direct and non-targeted general budget support for attainment of PRSP II's objectives with a particular focus in the social sector (health and education). According to the agreement document, parties also agreed that the disbursement will be partially linked to the levels of the achievement of agreed levels for selected performance indicators, as well as contribute to the public financial management reform, civil service reform, the revitalization of the groundnut sub-sector and improving road maintenance.
Mohamed H Midouche, Regional Resident Representative based in Senegal, speaking on behalf of his president said the purpose of the budget support is to assist the government of The Gambia in implementing its PRSP, with the ultimate goal of reducing poverty.
The General Budget Support (GBS), Midouche said is about providing funds directly to government, stating that it remains government preferred aid modality. This MoU Partnership Framework is to harmonise development partners budget support programme in reinforcing the cooperation between the government and its development partners so as to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of external aid, while supporting the institutional development of the Gambia.
In the context of the signing of MoU with development partners, he went on, the African Development Bank provides budget Support Grants of UA 4.0 Million including UA 1.0 Million finance under the Africa Food Crisis Response (AFCR), which brings the total Bank Group commitment in The Gambia, net of cancellations to UA 213.8 Million. Midouche then assured his bank's continuous support for the development efforts in the true spirit of partnership.
Madam Meskeren Mulatu of World Bank, representing Habib Fetini, the country director of World Bank, described the signing as yet another step towards strengthening their collaboration with a view to maximising their contributions to the country's effort to bring economic ad social progress.
She stated that , the partnership framework is the result of month dialogue and discussion between The Gambia government and its development partners. Its design began in the aftermath of HIPC complexion, aiming at crafting an instrument that could increase the effectiveness of external aid by supporting a wide range of development and institution building programmes, she said. The second expectation of this Partnership Framework, she continued, will be an important step towards broadening donor assistance by providing a low transaction cost instrument for accessing and delivering development assistance; thus allowing more time for dialogue on policy actions and implementation.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, honorable Abdou Kolley, described the signing as a first step and therefore called on their partners for as much as possible to facilitate the alignment process.
Minister Kolley believes in his own believed sad that the partnership will go a long way in facilitating their work as development partners. Joint missions and joint reviews and the likes will save time and cost. So if we work together, I think there will be any challenge that cannot be tackled, he said, while stating that the rationale behind the budget support programme is to support the government-own growth and poverty reduction objectives as stated in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) II, by maximising its reliance on country systems and procedures.