BY Kebba AF Touray
The deputy speaker, Momodou LK Sanneh, in reading the recommendations from the revised and approved budget by the Legislative body, expressed his appreciation to the Expert committee, PAC Committee of the Legislature for coming up with such strong recommendations which he said is the first of its kind in the history of The Gambia.
The National Assembly has approved a budget in which State Institutions and offices budgets were greatly reduced. For the Office of the President it has reduction of one hundred and fifty eighty million dalasi (D 158,000,000), the Ministry of Defense D25,000,000, Ministry of Foreign Affairs D 10,000,000, the Central Service D135,000,000, the Minister of Land D38, 000,000, the Ministry of Agriculture D3,000,000, the ministry of Works D100,000,000, and the Ministry of the Environment D6,000,000. The total reduction of the government offices, sum up to four hundred and seventy five million dalasis (D475, 000,000).
After reading the reduction made from the national budget by the deputies, Deputy Speaker, Momodou LK Sanneh said this is a clear indication that democracy is in place. “The Gambia has decided and the parliament has also decided,” the deputy speaker said.
Sanneh recommended that the GAMTEL GATEWAY should be returned to the Institution to manage it with memorandum of understanding with the government. On NAWEC, he opined the arrears that institutions owe NAWEC are too much and should be refunded to be able to solve its current crisis.
On agriculture, Sanneh appealed to the Finance Minister that the reduction from the Ministry of Agriculture should be fixed back to the Ministry because it is the livelihood of the country and entails many people and needs a good business to save the Ministry from its current situation.
He expressed his dissatisfaction as the reductions made did not affect the Ministry of Interior. He said the ministry of interior is very important and carries the internal security of the country, thus the amount of money spent by the Ministry on the recruitment is huge .He suggested that the recruitment of police men, Para military, fire service, Immigration and many others be suspended till the economy gets on its feet as it is in a dangerous situation.
Talking about fertilizer, he said there was a reduction from D900 to D700, but it will be difficult for an average Gambian who cannot afford to buy a bag of rice to afford this price, this will have impact on agricultural production.