Buyers Decry High Cost of Livestock Despite Tax Waiver

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By Amadou Manjang & Assan Bah

Many buyers who spoke to Foroyaa ahead of the 2024 Tobaski feast have said the cost of livestock is expensive.

Livestock sellers have welcomed the Gambia Government’s decision to waive taxes on ram importation.

The Ministry of Trade through the Gambia Revenue Authority has waived all duties and domestic taxes on ram to facilitate the importation and sales of livestock to residents of The Gambia.

Ram sellers in West Coast Region and Kanifing Municipality have confirmed to Foroyaa that taxes on importation of rams in the country have been waived by the authorities.

Ansu Sillah, a ram seller, said he has not paid any tax during the process of importing his rams.

‘We have not paid any tax while importing the rams,’ he said.

He decried that he incurred huge expenses during the process of transporting rams into the Gambia.

“To be honest, the transportation of the rams was very expensive,’ he said.

Another ram seller, Omar Singhateh, also stated that he did not pay tax while importing his rams into the Gambia.

“That was a good move by the government because it makes importation easier for us,’ he said.

He added that this will promote ram trade for the upcoming Tobaski feast expected to be observed on the 16th of June 2024. He stated that he used the Trans-Gambia Road instead of the ferry to transport his livestock.

“This made the cost of transportation a bit expensive,” he said.

He added that the ferry crossing system has not been efficient in the recent past that was the reason for using the Trans-Gambia Road.

Modou Secka, another ram seller said there is a tax waiver, but like the others, he complained about the cost of transporting the livestock.

“It was very expensive to transport the sheep,” he said.

To facilitate the importation of livestock, the Government also announced fifty percent reduction of fees for the ferry crossing for all livestock dealers. However, many of the ram importers interviewed by Foroyaa said they did not use the ferry crossing points due to the recent fluctuation in service delivery.

Ansu Sillah said he used the Trans-Gambia Road because it was more reliable than the ferry crossing points.

The vendors said the cost of hay has reduced significantly compared to the cost last year.

“Last year, the price of hay was very expensive. I was buying the big bag for 1000 dalasis,’ said Omar Saidykhan, a ram vendor.

Buba Saidy, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Brikama ‘Daral’ Livestock Dealers pointed at the high exchange rate of the CFA to the Dalasi as a problem. He added that their business is not going fast.

“Our main challenge this year is the CFA because it is going up every day and all our business is with the Senegalese people because we do not have rams in the Gambia. The CFA is very expensive because last week, we bought the CFA5000 at D560 but it is today costing D575.

“We are getting the cheapest ram at 20,000 CFA which is up to D11, 000 considering our fares. The drivers are charging us D300 per ram, and we pay 2,000 CFA at the customs, 1,000 CFA at the police in Senegal and the Gendarmerie 400 CFA,” PRO Saidy said.

He said there are enough rams at the Brikama ‘Daral’, adding that the vendors are bringing them every day. He also confirmed that they are not paying tax. He stated that they sell a ram at a minimum price of Twelve Thousand Dalasi (D12,000).

Meanwhile, these reporters came across some buyers at the Brikama ‘Daral’, who lamented the high cost of rams. The customers said despite the tax waiver on rams, and the reduction in the cost of hay, the prices of rams are still expensive.

“The price is not reduced because I bought this kind of ram last year at D14, 000, but this year, I bought it at D18,000,” a customer said.

These reporters caught up with another customer who was unable to get a ram.

“I will not comment because I know how they get the rams in Senegal. They are misleading the customers to make more profits. Why would they sell a ram at this price?” he asked.

Other buyers gave the same sentiments that the cost is expensive despite the tax reduction.