By MUHAMMED S. BAH
“Fiscal deficit should not be more than 3% of GDP and in 2012, it was 5.9%, and in 2013 it was 8.0%, a difference of 2.9% and 5.0% , respectively,” said Mr. Karamba Touray, the Auditor General of The Gambia.
Mr. Touray made this disclosure on Tuesday 20 September 2016 when tabling before the country’s law makers the audited government accounts in the year 2012/2013 under review.
The Auditor General said the audit of the public debt also revealed worrying trends.
He said the public domestic debts should not be consistently higher than 200% of domestically generated government revenue.
“In 2012, it was 495.8% and in 2013 it was 503%,” revealed the Auditor General.
Explaining the implications, Mr. Touray said there is the risk that in future the Gambia Government may face difficulties in obtaining loans from prospective creditors.
He also noted that there is a risk that in future, debt repayments would be difficult as the rate of increase in public debt surpasses the rate of increase in revenue, given the current trends.
Another implication, he added, is that there is a risk that assessment criteria for determining concessional and semi concessional loans are not adhered to.
“We recommend that government exercise strong fiscal discipline by significantly reducing domestic debt borrowings. This will help in addressing the high cost and risk attached to repayment of interest from government revenue,” said the Auditor General.
Also present during the Auditor General’s presentation was Mr. Lamin Camara, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, who had earlier presented a report on queries and recommendations of the government audited accounts, together with senior officials of the ministry.
These reports are to be subjected to scrutiny by the members of the National Assembly today, Wednesday 21 September 2016.