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Are they paying heed?

Sep 29, 2014, 9:44 AM

The Ministry of Trade Industry, Regional Integration and Employment on Thursday appealed to livestock dealers in the country to trim their prices on livestock, especially rams, toward the Muslim feast of Eid ul Adha commonly known as Tobaski.

In its appeal to dealers to complement government’s effort by ensuring that the prices of rams are reasonable and affordable by the average Gambian, the ministry also evaluated the circumstances and constraintsfaced by livestock dealers.

Both sides met at a common ground, which centred on minimizing the cost of rams so as to enable Muslim family heads especially, to afford it for sacrifice to our creator Allah the Almighty.

We wonder whether this appeal or plea is being paid heed to. This is because the price of a ram is still shooting up into the stratosphere, or more than it was a few days ago before the consultative meeting was convened by the Trade Ministry in Banjul.

By the time we went to press on Sunday night, the cheapest price being quoted for a ram was D8,000 whilst the more nourished and healthy ones were being sold for D25,000!

Such exorbitant prices are making sacrificing a ram this year for such a blissful occasion a tall order, as the majority of our people can’t afford it.

Although it is not compulsory, yet whoever is a Muslim family head would love to carry out this faith-testing rite from our creator, to attract the blessings that go with observing it.

Many are deprived of this accomplishment owing to the soaring ram prices for this Tobaski.

Whilst it is true that there are some hurdles to cross in getting the livestock to The Gambia by dealers, they should also be reasonable in the prices they ask for a ram.

The Director General of the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency, in subscribing to the appeal of the Trade Ministry for restraint in the pricing of ram said: “During the holy feast the cost of ram should be reduced to a reasonable level so that many people could afford it.”

But there is another side of the coin to this problem; that is, the battle faced by dealers at the border crossing points in trying to enter The Gambia with their livestock.

According to issues raised by the dealers at the Trade Ministry consultative meeting last Thursday, “the Immigration personnel are arresting some dealers” at the trading posts and border crossing points. This, they said, is doing more harm than good to the availability and pricing of rams.

However the fact remains that rams, towards the Tobaski this year, are being sold at cut-throat prices. Something ought to be done!

“Let’s make ram affordable to our Muslim brethren.”

The Point