WFP Terminates D222M Contract with Ministry of Agriculture for Covid-19 Relief Supplies

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Demba Sabally, Minister of Agriculture

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has terminated its contract with the Gambia government, The Alkamba Times (TAT) has learned.

The contract was for distributing more than D222 million worth of Covid-19 Relief Rice Supplies.

Sources disclosed that the contract was terminated because, for two years, key suppliers failed to deliver supplies to the WFP warehouse at Jeshwang.

The WFP signed the contract with the government on 17 July 2020, amended on 22 July 2021., under which the UN agency was to collect 8550 metric tonnes of relief rice from suppliers.

However, only eight out of 11 suppliers have delivered supplies to the WFP warehouses.

Another source within the Ministry of Trade in Banjul confirmed the termination of the WFP contract with the government. It said it was over suppliers’ failure to deliver as per the contract.

This source was disappointed that the government failed to take action against the suppliers, who failed to supply 2335.70 metric tonnes of Rice meant for the poor and vulnerable in the Central River and West Coast regions.

Our source added that the WFP made all efforts to receive the supplies for over two years and was left with no choice but to terminate the contract.

Meanwhile, TAT has seen a WFP letter dated 7 March 2023 addressed to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, in which it gave reasons for terminating the contract.

“In line with the letter of understanding (LoU) between the Government of The Gambia as represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the World Food Programme signed on 17 July 2020 and amended in 2021.

“Following the communication received by WFP dated 24 December 2020 from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment instructing WFP to collect 8550MT of Rice from 11 suppliers, only eight have supplied.

“Despite follow-up by both Government and WFP, three suppliers are yet to provide the outstanding quantity of Rice to WFP for distribution to vulnerable food insecure households in the Central River Region and the West Coast Region.”

The UN agency added that given the prevailing circumstances, it was returning the matching funds received from its headquarters because the outstanding quantity of Rice still needed to be delivered to its warehouses.

It is consequently terminating the Letter of Understanding Agreement reached with the Gambia government to collect and distribute COVID-19 Relief Food Supply launched by President Adama Barrow in September 2020, the letter concluded.

TAT’s reporter also spoke to one Lamin Manneh, a youth leader in Kaur in the CRR and a local councilor, who both said they have yet to receive supplies since April 2021.

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