Gov’t Covid-19 Relief Package Implementation Reaches 80% Benefiting 163, 603 Households


By Momodou Jarju

Tagged as the biggest humanitarian assistance in the history of The Gambia, the Government Covid-19 relief package distribution has reached 80% benefiting over one hundred thousand households across the country, the vice president Dr. Isatou Touray, informed lawmakers in Banjul on Wednesday.

Member for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah, asked the VP to inform the assembly the quantity of food distributed so far and how the money was acquired to fund the relief package.

In her response, VP Touray outlined the following:

“So far as at the 1st July, 2020, the actual amount of rice, sugar and oil dispatched to the regions were; 236, 269 50kg bags, 237, 189 50kg bags and 71, 416.5 twenty liter gallons respectively. On the distribution to beneficiaries, a total of 194, 292.5 50kg bags of rice, 194, 292.5 50kg bags of sugar and 151, 105.5 ten liter gallons of oil were distributed.

“A total of 163, 603 households, that’s 80%, as registered in the data base hosted at the National Disaster Management Agency. A balance of 41, 537.5 50kg bags of rice, 42, 896.5 50kg bags of sugar and 8, 582.5 ten liters gallons of oil are yet to be dispatched. A balance of 29, 220 50kg bags of rice, 29, 300 50kg bags of sugar and 8, 474 twenty liters gallons of oil are yet to be dispatched as the process is ongoing.”

Touray further said the money acquired to fund the relief package is exclusively sponsored by the government through budget sources. She added that a detail elaboration of the process of how funds have been acquired is the prerogative of the ministry of finance and economic affairs to deliberate upon as the competent authority.

Asked whether they would endeavor to expedite the process of distribution of the relief package to the masses considering the country is experiencing the rainy season, the VP responded in the positive. She said they realized that there are certain places that the rain is catching up and the food that was left lying outside are put in stores.

“We are not even wasting time, as I am speaking to you right now those areas that are left to be given was a matter of movement. As you know this is one of the biggest humanitarian supports that The Gambia has ever in its history received and therefore the logistics is quite huge,” she explained.

She said they are making sure that everything that transpired during the distribution of the relief package would be reported in a transparent manner.

Madam Touray said they have mechanisms in place to ensure there is fair distribution of the food relief package, which include size of families among others. She argued that the ratio that was used for the distribution was fair and scientific.

Nonetheless, she said some complaints emerged in the urban areas and they realized that the data sets that were given left out some households during the data collection process.

“Some households {we} were not too sure whether to write their names or not because these are assessment we have done and we realized that when they said come and register or give us the number of your household, people were very reluctant, misinterpreting it for many reasons,” she said.

She however added that they will all receive the package, adding that the areas that did not receive oil are now being provided.