With barely a week before the Muslim feast of Eid ul-Adha, locally known as Tobaski, Gambians have intensified the buying of the sacrificial animals for the event.
The prices of the various livestock used as sacrificial animals were high in the beginning of the trading period in the lead up to the Tobaski because dealers had complained that they pay a lot of money to acquire the livestock outside The Gambia.
As a result, most Gambians were banking on the usual rams on offer by the Kanilai Group International as their only hope of getting a sacrificial ram. KGI is selling rams between D4000 and D5000. But in yet another show of magnanimity on Sunday, the Government announced that the President has approved for the waiving of Income Tax, Municipal Council Tax and levies on livestock dealers, among other supportive measures. This measure, according to the Ministry of Trade is aimed at making livestock available, accessible and affordable to the public in the period leading to Tobaski.
A ram dealer, who spoke to this medium before the government decision, said he was only able to purchase four rams from Senegal. He asserted that one ram costs up to 35,000 CFA, equivalent to D15, 000 to D18,000.
Mariam Njie, a native of Bundung, told this reporter that she had been struggling to buy a ram for the past two weeks. She described the KGI ram sale as ‘Pur Nopal Jabot’, a Wolof parlance meaning to help families.
Almami Jadama of Brikama added: “I have to buy four rams as I come from an extended family, but I couldn’t buy even one because of the cost involved. My only hope now is with the KGI, though it’s difficult to purchase a ram there due to the high demand. I only wish I could get at least two to manage with my family.”
Well, those nightmarish experiences are finally over for both Gambians and non-Gambian Muslims after the government decision.
The Ministry of Trade announced that following the Presidential approval, the GRA Income Tax, Municipal Council Tax and levies on Livestock dealers have all been waived. In addition, GPA ferry crossing fees of livestock are reduced by 50%, and The Gambia Immigration Department will also facilitate the free and smooth movement of visiting livestock dealers.
“The Gambia Police Force will ensure maximum security at all points of sale of livestock. The KMC has designated areas around the Independence Stadium, GTMI and the Kanifing Offices of SSHFC as points of sale for Livestock,’’ a press release from the Ministry concluded.
by Saffiatou Colley