By Muhammad Bah & Abdoulie G. Dibba
The bill amounted to D1, 134,690,48.00 (one billion, one hundred and thirty four million, six hundred and ninety thousand and forty-eight dalasis).
The Interior Minister told lawmakers that these are emerging expenses and requires government to provide additional funds to meet a statutory payment obligation. He said this is presented for consideration by parliament. He pointed out that the financing of the supplementary expenditure would be through domestic borrowing.
Presenting the bill on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Kebba S. Touray, Sonko said the objective of the government’s macroeconomic program is to ensure that the macro economy is stable in the medium term. He added that the 2014 budget focuses on fiscal prudence aimed at minimizing the growing deficit being financed by costly domestic borrowing.
Hon Sonko said the budget is anchored on containing the Net Domestic Borrowing (NDB) to 2.5% GDP which he said is equal to D933,475,00 (Nine Hundred and thirty-three million, four hundred and seventy-five thousand) Gambian dalasis in 2014.
He said the objective behind this policy is to contain inflation, stabilize the dalasi and increase domestic savings for program financing.
He informed lawmakers that the government’s total revenue and grant is estimated at 8.6 billion in 2014, 22.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Minister Sonko opined that the revenue performance is good but is outpaced by extra-budgetary expenditures. He said in the course of the 2014 fiscal year 2014, there were unexpected expenditures which required government’s spending.
He cited the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries where government is forced to provide funds to prevent Ebola from coming into the Gambia.
The Minister noted that the government contributes annually to international organizations to enable it’s participation in such programmes and the feeding of the foreign missions increased due to the depreciation of the dalasis against hard currencies which were both unexpected expenditures.
The minister outlined the Mandinaba –Soma and Brikama-Dimabaya road projects which he said incur expenditures and government funding in those roads was substantial. He said the government approved the installation of the pump house in Banjul to be able to drain any potential flooding.
On his final note, the Minster briefed the National Assembly Members on the government’s development projects, some of which are supported by partners such as the Old Police Line refurbishment work in Banjul, rehabilitation of the national independence stadium in Bakau, Banjul International Airport Rehabilitation Project and the schools improvement grant project which he claimed were all part of the expenditures made.