THE 2015 ESTIMATES OF REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE SCRAPING THE BACK OF THE PEOPLE TO PAY DEBTS

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs laid down the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for The Gambia in the year 2015 before the National Assembly on Monday 1 December 2015. This is in accordance with section 152 of the constitution which states that “The President shall cause the Secretary of State responsible for finance to prepare and lay before the National Assembly at least thirty days before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenue and expenditure of The Gambia for the following financial year. The estimates shall include any estimates which, under this Constitution, are to be submitted directly to the President by the Chief Justice or any other authority for presentation by the President to the National Assembly.”
In his statement in laying the estimates before the National Assembly, the Minister of Finance revealed that revenue for 2015 will increase by 31 percent to 11,197 million dalasis for which a 25 percent rise in tax revenue will play a major role. This means squeezing more money from the people in the form of taxation, whether directly or indirectly.
What will this revenue that has been scraped from the people be used for? According to the Minister, “Total expenditure and net lending is projected to increase from 10,223 million dalasis in 2014 to 11,313 million dalasis in 2015 representing an increase of 11 percent.” He further stated that, “Debt interest payments are projected to consume around 31 percent of the Government revenues in 2015 compared to 25 percent in 2014.” A simple calculation would reveal that each Gambian will on the average contribute 1,948 dalasis to the payment of interest (only) on loans in the year 2015 alone.
The Minister did not stop there. He indicated that the Government will borrow more in 2015 to offset the budget deficit, thus sinking more and more into the abyss of indebtedness. He said: “In terms of financing the deficit, net domestic borrowing (NDB) is projected to be limited to 384 million dalasis in 2015, which represents 1 percent of GDP.” Let us hope that the Government will not return to the National Assembly by October next year to seek the approval of the National Assembly after making unauthorized spending of more than 1 billion dalasis as they did this year.
Needless to say so long as the government continues to rely on a tax based economy and fails to develop the productive base of the economy it will continue to face perennial fiscal deficits and indebtedness.