By Awa B. Bah
The debate on the consideration and adoption of the revised draft budget estimates of revenue and expenditure for the period 1st January to 31st December 2017, continued before deputies at the National Assembly and present to table the motion was the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Amadou Sanneh.
The member for Lower Fulladu West in his deliberation indicated that people entrusted to manage public funds, should execute their mandates with professionalism to avoid enriching themselves. He urged the minister to consider the inputs of national assembly members in any project to be implemented in their various constituencies and announced that he has no objection in ratifying the revised budget.
On his part, the member for Tumana commended the Minister for coming up with a revised copy of the draft budget estimates, capturing diverted revenue funds from Gamtel and sand mining is expected to yield D556 million. The Tumana NAM applauded the minister for the recent price reduction of fertilizer for the farming community and further urged him to increase rather than reduce agricultural expenditure on inputs as a subsidy for farmers. The Tumana NAM told the Minister to look into the expenditures of the security sector, which he said is too high, looking at the financial situation of the country. He suggested that government should stop the recruitment of security officers for the coming years, as it is taxpayers’ money that will be used to pay them.
The member for Banjul Central commended the Minister for cutting down government expenditures particularly with that of the office of the president, to D158 million. He suggested for D200 million to be cut from the expenditures of the office of the president, as some of the agencies that were under that office, have been moved to their various ministries. The member further called on the Minister to consider the agriculture and tourism sectors because they create employment and generate foreign exchange, to strengthen our economy. The member called for an increase in the allocation of budget to the tourism sector to assist the sector’s operation beyond six months.
The member for Banjul South called for the striking out of expenditures under the office of the first lady and deputy ministers as they are not captured in the constitution and removing them from the budget will enhance the revised estimates.