JFP receives Indian model car
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP), yesterday, took delivery of a three-seater car, the first kind to be introduced in The Gambia.
Manufactured and assembled in India, the vehicle, called Batchcar in The Gambia and Bajaj in India, came as a donation from Batch's Investment, a business entity owned by Mr Batch Faye, who is based in India and recently arrived in the country with two of his Sri Lankan business partners.
The vice-president and secretary of state for Women's Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, who is the chairperson of the foundation, received the car on behalf of the JFP.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Vice-President Njie-Saidy thanked Mr Batch Fye and his team for their foresight in introducing the model to The Gambia, describing it as an appropriate technology, as it is efficient and economical.
The vice-president cited the enormous marketing potential for the vehicle, as it could be within the purchasing power of a good number of Gambians.
Elaborating on the prospect of employment opportunities the introduction of the vehicle might bring to the country, Vice-President Njie-Saidy suggested that The Gambia could be used as a spring board to the rest of the region. She hailed Mr Batch Faye for his continued support to the JFP and encouraged him and his team to consider setting up a back-up service for spare parts and maintenance facilities in the country.
For his part, Mr Faye, the head of the donor delegation, said they were aware of the good work of the president and the foundation and therefore thought it prudent to give it to the JFP first in introducing it into the country. He pointed to fuel efficiency, sustainability, and environmental friendliness as the key issues that were considered in donating the vehicle.
Apart from being used as an ambulance, he said, the vehicles could also be useful for commercial reasons, and even private purposes. According to him, the relevant authorities were already working with some banks for possible financing, in a bid to make the vehicle easily accessible to the people, saying that while the funding authorities would payi 60 per cent, the individual beneficiary would be expected to pay 40 per cent. With himself and Bai Mattar Drammeh as the major shareholders of the Gambia National Insurance Company, Mr Faye further envisaged that they would ensure that the vehicles were insured.
Ansumana Jammeh, the executive director of JFP, described the coming of the vehicle as timely, considering the difficulty surrounding fuel accessibility the world over. He said that the donation demonstrates the donors' recognition of the good work of not only the president, but also the foundation. He described Mr Batch Faye as a permanent donor to the Foundation.
Mr Ardy Sarge, the board chairperson of the foundation, uttered similar sentiments, saying that the vehicles will go a long way in solving the chronic fuel problem, and that they will also cut down on the problems they face in the day-to-day running of the affairs of the foundation.
Both Mr Bai Mattar Drammeh and Omar Gibba, members of the foundation, delved on the work of the foundation. While Mr Gibba sought to highlight the foundation's intervention in various aspects of nation building, with capacity building at the fore, Mr Drammeh disclosed that they have already working to set up a loan mechanism to help people to be able to buy the vehicles at affordable prices.
With a fuel consumption efficiency of 70 miles per gallon, the Batchcar, according to the donors, has a life span of 10 years, and it is currently priced at D95,000. Although it is currently manufactured and assembled in India, the businessmen intend to start its assemblage in The Gambia pretty soon.
In the meantime, they intend to train a Gambian driver for the pioneer vehicle and hoped that with an increasing order of importation, there was a greater chance that the cost of the vehicle might go down.
Author: by Kemo Cham