By Omar Bah
The Gambia’s finance minister Mamburay Njie will be presenting the budget estimates for 2020 fiscal year today at the National Assembly and out of the estimate of D24, 472, 615, 000, the government is poised to pay a staggering D9.4billion on debt services alone.
The government also plans to borrow approximately D5.6 billion to finance the budget deficit (D3.9 billion from the domestic market).
According to the Upper Fulladu West National Assembly Member Dawda Sanna Jawara, who posted some of the pages onFacebook, this represents an increase of 221% from 2019, and the highest ever in the budgetary history of The Gambia, regardless of the re-rebasing of the GDP.
Jawara said the President’s office alone registered D31m increase allocation due, partly, to increase in staff at the Presidency.
“There will be increase in ‘Special Advisers’ from 4 to 6, a deputy secretary general, and allowances alone increasing from D1,402,010 in 2019, to the tune of D14,806,855 in 2020,” Jawara wrote on his Facebook page.
He also branded some of the allocations as misplaced priorities.
According to details released on his Facebook page, D394m is allocated to agriculture which accounts for 1.7% of the government.
The allocation to Defense and Security sectors combined is D1.7 billion which accounts for 7.3% of revenues compared to 6.8% last year.
Jawara also said the Ministry of Works vote has gone up significantly by a whooping D330M.
“I guess this is earmarked for the Banjul Rehabilitation Project. Now this is the thing, every Gambian of a sound mind and sincerity should advocate for the rehabilitation of his/her capital city (i.e Banjul). Therefore, I support the initiative of the Banjul Project. However, this initiative has to be in line with the law. Period”.
Hon Jawara continued to observe that “under the expenditure budget funding overview, it is budgeted that the country is envisaged to receive D8.1 billion in grants. Given the fact that D9.9 billion was budgeted in 2019, we received zero Dalasi in budget support since 2017. So how realistic is this budget line? And failing to secure these fundings, could mean that the Minister will raise more funds domestically, thus depriving the private sector of the much-needed finance and fiscal space”.