By Momodou Jarju
The Gambia will benefit a 17 million United States Dollars from the Republic of Turkey if the National Assembly ratifies a new agreement between Banjul and Ankara.
The said amount is about 867 million Gambian dalasis or more.
Dubbed the Military Financial Cooperation Agreement amid both countries, the agreement plus three other agreements were tabled before the national assembly on Tuesday in Banjul by the Minister of Defence, Sheikh Omar Faye.
Tabling the agreement, Minister Faye said the agreement was signed in Istanbul, capital of Turkey, on 2nd May 2019.
“Under the protocol, the Government of the Republic of Turkey will provide the financial assistance in the amount of 100, 000, 000.00 Turkish Lira equivalent to 17, 000, 000.00 US Dollars (100, 000, 000.00 × US$ 17, 000, 000.00) for a period of five years while The Gambia will ensure that items provided under the agreement are not moved from the inventory and given to a third party without the prior consent and approval of the Government of the Republic of Turkey,” he said.
Defending the motion, he was tabling before lawmakers, Minister Faye said the Turkish Government has been supporting the Gambia Armed Forces in the areas of logistics, transportation expenses for visiting officials and more importantly training and capacity building support.
He further said many Gambia Armed Forces personnel graduated from Naval and Infantry academies in Turkey.
“Upon the ratification of this agreement, the Turkish Government will assist the Gambia Armed Forces in the purchase of military equipment, materials and service based on the needs of the Gambia Armed Forces,” Minister Faye said.
Speaking further, Minister Faye highlighted that during the new political dispensation in the country, the Turkish Government was the first to partner with the Gambia Armed Forces by committing itself in helping the Gambia Armed Forces to secure the required military hardware equipment for military engagements and development.
“Additionally, Turkey is willing to airlift a battalion’s strength of the Armed Forces to build the necessary capacity without cost to the Government of The Gambia,” he added.
The plenary of the National Assembly has unanimously voted for the deferment of the minister’s consolidated motion (four motions) to the Standing Committee on Defence and Security to scrutinize the agreements and report back to plenary no sooner than Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020.
Nonetheless, the plenary has showed the need for a speedy work on the agreement by the Standing Committee due to the “importance of the agreement” as indicated by the chairperson of the aforementioned committee and deputy speaker, Momodou Sanneh.