By Muhammad Bah
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Kebba S. Touray, on Monday 1st December 2014 presented the 2015 draft estimates of revenues and expenditures of the Government of the Gambia for the period 1st January to 31st December 2015 to the National Assembly in Banjul.
Minister Touray told lawmakers that the estimates for the year 2015 on total expenditure and net lending is projected to increase to D11, 313 million in 2015 from 10, 233 million as in 2014 representing increase of 11%.
The Finance and Economic Affairs Minister informed Parliamentarians that the personnel expenditures are projected to increase marginally to D2,098 or (2%) in 2015 which he said allows for a normal annual increment. According to the Finance Minister, other current non-interest expenditure is estimated to rise by 25% to D 4,773 million from D3828 million.
He said Capital expenditure is estimated to reduce by 27% in 2015 to D1,997 million from 2,737 million.
He said this decline in projected capital expenditure is due largely to the closure of major projects such as the Health facilities Expansion projects, the Kotu Ring Electirity project, the Gunjur Water supply project, IFMIS PHASE 11 etc.
He said the debt interest payments are projected to consume around 31 percent of government revenues in 2015 compared to 25% in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
He mentioned these interest payments as D1, 641 million for 2015 and D2, 449 million for 2014.
He said Net Domestic Borrowing (NDB) is estimated to be limited to 384 million in 2015 which represents 1% of GDP. According to Mr. Touray, this target of NDB will help reinforce confidence and macroeconomic stability.
Total Revenue and grants in 2015 is projected to rise to 31% over the 2014 approved budget to 11,197 million in 2015, he added.
He pointed out to Deputies that this is due to the 25% rise in tax revenue which comes mainly from the elimination of subsidy in fuel products and a 60% rise in Grants and expected tax efficiency through improved structural reforms.
Mr. Touray stated that grant amount is a combination of D1, 300 million for Budget Support and D1, 889 million for project-related Grants.
He also said the 2015 budget presents a framework to which government’s priorities are formulated and implemented. He added that this is based on the country’s National development blueprint (2016-2020) and the Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE). He said the 2015 budget has also taken into account emerging expenditure needs and the fiscal costs of the government policies in response to Ebola and low harvest.
Finally, the Finance minister assured NAMs that the 2015 budget reflects a clear need to contain the challenging level of domestic debt stock and steer the budget to a long term fiscal sustainability.
By Muhammad Bah