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 Finance Minister Amends 2018 Draft Budget Estimate
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Momodou



Denmark
8491 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  09:48:45  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Finance Minister Amends 2018 Draft Budget Estimates

Foroyaa: December 6, 2017


By Amie Sanneh

http://www.foroyaa.gm/archives/19570


The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Sanneh, had made amendments to the draft budget estimates for the year 2018, which he earlier presented to the Assembly.

Mr. Sanneh officially tabled before the National Assembly the 2018 draft estimates of revenue and expenditure of the Republic of the Gambia for debate and adoption on the 27th November 2017.

Deputies were supposed to debate on the said budget estimates yesterday before it could be adopted but that was not possible as the Finance Minister brought in some adjustments to the draft estimates of the budget. Members therefore requested time for them to go through the amendments and understand it before they can comment on it.

The Finance Minister said they think the amendments they made to the 2018 draft estimates are essential in their drive for fiscal consolidation and the economic road to the budget. This he continued is to strengthen Government’s fiscal and economic policy of 2018.

He explained that the basic tenant of this amendment is that they over estimated a debt repayment on behalf of NAWEC which is the D2.1billion debt which they have factored as 900, 000, 000 for 2018; but that given the fact that they have re-negotiated this debt, instead of the five years, three years has already gone for the repayment; that the D2.1billion scheduled for repayment for the next two years, has been negotiated and agreed upon with banks which was signed and now it will be repaid in seven years. This according to him has reduced the yearly debt service burden on the budget which they want to reflect on; that they have also adjusted some essential line items with the savings on debt service payment and there were other revenue measures which were not fully captured in the budget.

The Finance Minister said government has approved a new vehicle policy in cabinet that only one vehicle will be allocated to the Ministers and permanent secretaries respectively. “This policy means that we will off load a lot of the excess vehicles we have running around and costing a lot for the tax payer in terms of servicing, fuel and new vehicles,” he said. For the junior employees, Minister Sanneh stated that cabinet has approved an additional transport allowance of D1000 for each individual from Grade 1 to 8. This he went on has an impact of about D320 million on the budget.

On severance package for some of the drivers who will be affected if they reduce the number of government vehicles, he said they have put in place D20 million to cater for the package, to give them a new start.

General Service expense in the President’s office used to be D20 million but the Finance Minister said they have added an additional D2 million to cater for certain incidental expenses which was not catered for in the draft estimate budget.

He said the travel vote was reduced significantly in the draft estimates but with the savings available, they have increased it by D18 million from D57 million to D75 million.

Mr. Sanneh said they have now added another D40 million for MDI which has been moved from the President’s office, to the Ministry of Higher Education. This he added will cater for the additional subventions for phase two of the ACE project which is expected to materialize in 2018; that an additional 3.3 million has been given to higher operational cost and another D50, 000 on incidental awards; that Government also allocated D7.6 million to Higher Education for school laboratories and facilities for the TVET project.

On arbitration and court awards, Minister Sanneh said they have increased it from D100 million to D110 million which they want to put aside for awards of damages by the National and ECOWAS courts. He explained that they already have some awards which they have to pay at the ECOWAS court for the late Deyda Hydara and Chief Manneh; that sometimes they have cases against the Government and when Government loses, they have to pay.Thus the need for them to put something in place.

He said the Civil Service Loan Scheme which was estimated at D40 million, has now been increased to D60 million; that this is meant to support the new vehicle policy; that instead of using Government vehicles, it will allow civil servants from the DPS downwards and those who qualify, to apply for their own vehicles.

Mr. Sanneh said they have also increased input subsidies of D75million by another D25 million making it 100 million and that this is meant for fertilizer and seed nuts for farmers; that D50 million has been allocated for specialised technical materials meant for the hospitals, for necessary lifesaving equipment describing the state of the hospitals today as deplorable. According to him, they have already taken measures to provide hospitals with funds this year, to enable them get some of the much-needed equipment to save lives and provide quality services to the citizens.

Under the Global Fund project, he said they have an operating cost under the health service and they put in D10 million as counterpart funds for them to roll in their next program. Mr. Sanneh added that they have other major rehabilitation works and an additional D8 million has been put forward for the medical personnel to build quarters for them especially the department that is renting out; that they want to put another floor at the central medical stores to cater for those departments that are renting outside; that they also put D5million on medical equipment which is counterpart funding for the reverse linkage program that the medical school is implementing with Turkey.

For the Justice Ministry, Mr. Sanneh said an additional D50, 000 has been put forward to cater for fuel on the movement of judges as they move from one court to the other.

‘‘One million is been given to the Fisheries Department to implement the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project which is expected to kickoff next year,’’ he stated.

The Finance Minister noted that government’s contribution on the Islamic Microfinance Institute for the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries, has been increased to D26 million as it was D20 million in the draft estimate.

ASYCUDA WORLD software package of D2 Million was budgeted but has now been increased to D13.5 million, making a difference of D11.5million, he said.

On youth development, Minister Sanneh mentioned that an additional D3 million has been added to the D3 million budgeted for National Youth Council and the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), giving them a total of D6 million each. D3 million has also been added to the National Youth Service Scheme’s (NYSS) budget, giving them a total of D9 million, he said. The President International Award Scheme (PIA) which was budgeted at D4.9 million is also given an addition of D3million making it D7.9million.

For Works, the Finance Minister said D15 million has been added to the D2.4million budget, making D17.4million meant for road feasibility studies.

The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) subsidy has been reduced to D460 million as it used to be D900million, he said.

He said they have catered D15 million for feasibility studies on road infrastructure; that they need to have a feasibility structure in place so that they can source for financing as they have about 3,000 km of road that they need to work on. The gateway proceeds which was under budgeted at D150 million, is estimated to earn the country D640 million. Rice import duty has been reduced from 10% to 0, which is from D1,526 million to D1,383 million, he said.

Excise duty for new imported vehicle has been reduced from 25% to 20% and from 15% to 10% for vehicles that are less than 5 years old. This he said, means revenue will decrease from 338 million to 298 million. According to the Minister, they are trying to avoid the Gambia from being a dumping ground for bad and dilapidated vehicles; that Corporate tax has also been reduced by 3% from 1,126 million to 1,000 million; Personal Income Tax top rate has been reduced by 5% and also increasing the tax free threshold from D18, 000 to D24, 000. This he said will help salary earners to have more take home income on their salaries.

The proposed reduction of Rental income tax for commercial businesses has been reduced from 15% to 10% and residential from 10% to 8%.

The National Assembly Member for Lower Baddibu stressed the need for the sittings to be adjourned since this is dealing with the lives of the people. He said they need to be given time to enable them digest the content of the document.

The Member for Banjul North Ousman Sillah, said what the Assembly needs to do is to follow the constitutional procedure; that the Minister should have waited until they debated on the one that was presented to them first then he comes up with the adjustment; that otherwise, he is pre-empting their interventions; that what they should do is to proceed and debate on the earlier budget estimate presented to them rather than adjourning it.

Voting was conducted on whether to proceed with sittings or to adjourn. Majority of the members voted for sittings to be adjourned till today 6thDecember 2016, before they can proceed with the debate. The speaker Mariam Jack Denton, adjourned the sittings to today.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Momodou



Denmark
8491 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  11:41:15  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh

Budget 2018. Let Us Support Our Parliamentarians!


A miracle is taking place in the National Assembly these days as parliamentarians critically discuss the estimates for the National Budget. For the first time we are seeing a large number of Gambian parliamentarians raising pertinent issues about the budget in terms of the budget lines and the allocations as well as the results that the budget could produce for the development and the future of the Gambia. It is therefore necessary that Gambians storm the parliament to listen to these deliberations and provide the necessary moral support to those NAMs.

Gambians must bear in mind that national development cannot take place until the budget is rightly and strategically formulated in order to provide the necessary resources to the right places at the right time. In order words, we need a budget that enables the Government to raise the necessary resources without harming the people, yet also implement that budget such that every butut reaches in full to sectors and communities to which allocation is made.

When the budget is not well formulated and its implementation is not proper, not only will the country face deficits but the economy itself will not function well while goods and services that should reach the population will not arrive hence poverty, inequality and deprivation will continue to characterize the lives of Gambians.

For 52 years the Gambia has never balanced its budget rather the country has always experienced perennial deficits while at the same time taxes continue to always go higher as delivery of social services remain limited and not available to the majority of citizens. The fact remains that this country persistently witnesses waste of public resources and financial mismanagement simply because of the lack of effective oversight by the parliament.

The budget is the tool that the Government utilizes to implement our Constitution. It is in our Constitution that the rights and needs of the citizens are spelt out hence the Constitution is the basis of national development. When a budget is poorly formulated, mismanaged and not implemented in full, it means necessary equipment, facilities, tools and services will not be available at hospitals, schools, police and fire stations and communities while public infrastructure will be poor.

When hospitals lack the necessary medical equipment, electricity and water supply it means mothers can die while giving birth to another Gambian. When necessary drugs and examination tools are lacking in health facilities it means Gambian children can die from preventable diseases. When necessary teaching and learning materials are lacking in public schools, it means quality education is compromised thus undermining the future of those children and the country. When roads are not available or poorly constructed because the full budget allocation is not delivered it means transportation becomes more difficult and expensive which also translates into high cost of living. Hence the budget is a life and death issue.

The parliamentarians therefore must realize that what they are doing is in fact saving the lives of their electorates. By scrutinizing the estimates to ensure that the right allocations are made to the right sectors and places, it means this country will now have the means to generate its own development more effectively. Hence the parliamentarians must not ignore any budget line and allocation. They must ask the right questions and obtain satisfactory answers otherwise they must return the budget back to the Minister of Finance to review his estimates.

When the parliament finally approves the budget they must still continue the scrutiny because budget execution is as important as budget formulation. Execution of the budget means funds are now given to the Government to implement which means to spend public money that will go to provide the necessary goods, facilities and services that the country needs. It is usually in the execution of the budget that lot of corruption occurs thus causing poor service delivery.

This is when the funds allocated to sectors, facilities and services are either cut or diverted by the ministries, departments and agencies. They divert these funds to personal and office matters while health facilities, police stations or schools in our communities are lacking basic materials. Secondly in the procurement of goods and services, public officers would inflate prices or buy poor quality materials just to get kickbacks such that while they spend a lot of the money yet citizens only receive poor services, poor facilities or poor infrastructure such as roads or buildings.

All citizens must take the budget very seriously because after the Constitution, the budget is the most important law. It is the budget that will determine whether our hospitals will be a place to save or kill lives. It is the budget that will determine if Gambians will enjoy water and electricity supply 24 hours or not. It is our budget that will determine the prices of goods. It is our budget that will determine if our rights will be protected or violated. It is the budget that determines if jobs will be available or not. Hence the budget is our present and future. It is a life and death issue that no citizen must ignore.

It is sad that these estimates were not shared with the general public in the first place. The Ministry of Finance must make these estimates public the moment they share with NAMs. If they fail to do so our NAMs should have shared them with their constituents. But it is sad that none of them did so even though these estimates are about the resources and lives of the people. In the New Gambia, we must demand that budget estimates be shared with the general public so that the public influences the budget in our own interest. Secondly citizens have a right to see and know the estimates!

Let us go to the parliament to show our NAMs that we care about our budget because our budget is our life. Let us go to the parliament to support those NAMs that have taken a determined and principled stance to ensure that the wealth of the Gambia is invested and distributed among Gambians. Let us go to the parliament to embolden those progressive NAMs who are playing their oversight role effectively without fear or favour.
For the Gambia, Our Homeland!

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Alhassan

Sweden
807 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  14:52:26  Show Profile Send Alhassan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Momodou

Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh

Budget 2018. Let Us Support Our Parliamentarians!


A miracle is taking place in the National Assembly these days as parliamentarians critically discuss the estimates for the National Budget. For the first time we are seeing a large number of Gambian parliamentarians raising pertinent issues about the budget in terms of the budget lines and the allocations as well as the results that the budget could produce for the development and the future of the Gambia. It is therefore necessary that Gambians storm the parliament to listen to these deliberations and provide the necessary moral support to those NAMs.

Gambians must bear in mind that national development cannot take place until the budget is rightly and strategically formulated in order to provide the necessary resources to the right places at the right time. In order words, we need a budget that enables the Government to raise the necessary resources without harming the people, yet also implement that budget such that every butut reaches in full to sectors and communities to which allocation is made.

When the budget is not well formulated and its implementation is not proper, not only will the country face deficits but the economy itself will not function well while goods and services that should reach the population will not arrive hence poverty, inequality and deprivation will continue to characterize the lives of Gambians.

For 52 years the Gambia has never balanced its budget rather the country has always experienced perennial deficits while at the same time taxes continue to always go higher as delivery of social services remain limited and not available to the majority of citizens. The fact remains that this country persistently witnesses waste of public resources and financial mismanagement simply because of the lack of effective oversight by the parliament.

The budget is the tool that the Government utilizes to implement our Constitution. It is in our Constitution that the rights and needs of the citizens are spelt out hence the Constitution is the basis of national development. When a budget is poorly formulated, mismanaged and not implemented in full, it means necessary equipment, facilities, tools and services will not be available at hospitals, schools, police and fire stations and communities while public infrastructure will be poor.

When hospitals lack the necessary medical equipment, electricity and water supply it means mothers can die while giving birth to another Gambian. When necessary drugs and examination tools are lacking in health facilities it means Gambian children can die from preventable diseases. When necessary teaching and learning materials are lacking in public schools, it means quality education is compromised thus undermining the future of those children and the country. When roads are not available or poorly constructed because the full budget allocation is not delivered it means transportation becomes more difficult and expensive which also translates into high cost of living. Hence the budget is a life and death issue.

The parliamentarians therefore must realize that what they are doing is in fact saving the lives of their electorates. By scrutinizing the estimates to ensure that the right allocations are made to the right sectors and places, it means this country will now have the means to generate its own development more effectively. Hence the parliamentarians must not ignore any budget line and allocation. They must ask the right questions and obtain satisfactory answers otherwise they must return the budget back to the Minister of Finance to review his estimates.

When the parliament finally approves the budget they must still continue the scrutiny because budget execution is as important as budget formulation. Execution of the budget means funds are now given to the Government to implement which means to spend public money that will go to provide the necessary goods, facilities and services that the country needs. It is usually in the execution of the budget that lot of corruption occurs thus causing poor service delivery.

This is when the funds allocated to sectors, facilities and services are either cut or diverted by the ministries, departments and agencies. They divert these funds to personal and office matters while health facilities, police stations or schools in our communities are lacking basic materials. Secondly in the procurement of goods and services, public officers would inflate prices or buy poor quality materials just to get kickbacks such that while they spend a lot of the money yet citizens only receive poor services, poor facilities or poor infrastructure such as roads or buildings.

All citizens must take the budget very seriously because after the Constitution, the budget is the most important law. It is the budget that will determine whether our hospitals will be a place to save or kill lives. It is the budget that will determine if Gambians will enjoy water and electricity supply 24 hours or not. It is our budget that will determine the prices of goods. It is our budget that will determine if our rights will be protected or violated. It is the budget that determines if jobs will be available or not. Hence the budget is our present and future. It is a life and death issue that no citizen must ignore.

It is sad that these estimates were not shared with the general public in the first place. The Ministry of Finance must make these estimates public the moment they share with NAMs. If they fail to do so our NAMs should have shared them with their constituents. But it is sad that none of them did so even though these estimates are about the resources and lives of the people. In the New Gambia, we must demand that budget estimates be shared with the general public so that the public influences the budget in our own interest. Secondly citizens have a right to see and know the estimates!

Let us go to the parliament to show our NAMs that we care about our budget because our budget is our life. Let us go to the parliament to support those NAMs that have taken a determined and principled stance to ensure that the wealth of the Gambia is invested and distributed among Gambians. Let us go to the parliament to embolden those progressive NAMs who are playing their oversight role effectively without fear or favour.
For the Gambia, Our Homeland!



I agree that we should support them , but only if it is good for the Gambia. The question of the budget is out of hands. I agree with Sidia Jatta that the Gambia should not depend on land and grants for the National Budget. I think Gambia should use the money to invest and make money out of money. This i mean Invest so that Gambia does not need to depend as Sidia said. An observation I made was the allocation of funds. over 200 million dalasis for the MPS and perm.secs, compare to 50 million for health issues. It should have been the other way round. I suggest government must invest in the health and social sector if we want to go forward. As it is today Gambia does not invest in health issues. Gambia likes to party too much. Not long ago they were dancing at the buffalo zone celebrating the coalition when people have no food for the day. We should support when it coms to the betterment of Gambia and protest when it is not favorable to Gambia. I hope we can help by positive suggestions to the Gambia
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Momodou



Denmark
8491 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2017 :  12:54:34  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building The New Gambia

By Madi Jobarteh

Support NAMs for Transparency and Rational Allocations in the Budget


According to the agenda of the current parliamentary session the NAMs were supposed to adopt the draft budget estimates yesterday December 7. Next week Friday December 15 the Minster of Finance is expected to deliver the budget speech and the laying of the Appropriation Bill before Parliament for debate for only 5 days until December 19 for approval. When the bill is passed it means our money is now made available to Pres. Adama Barrow to spend as the national budget.

In the past one week our NAMs had truly stood up to scrutinize the estimates even though they had only 11 days. This time is not enough at all for a discussion of a matter that concerns the life and death of a whole nation. We hope in the new Constitution, the timeline for the budget process will change so as to give adequate time to NAMs to discuss the issue. It is also important that the new Constitution makes it mandatory on the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament to share draft estimates publicly so that citizens can engage in the budget process as well.

While commending the NAMs for playing their part quite effectively, in the meantime we hope the Appropriation bill will not contain the following:

1. No to Government renting expensive private premises. Use public buildings for public offices.

2. No to allocation to unconstitutional ‘Office of the First Lady’.

3. No to allocation to ‘Presidential Donation’ or ‘State of the Nation Address.’

4. No to exorbitant allocations for ‘office furniture and renovations’.

5. Reduce the number of Gambian embassies and consulates.

6. Indicate the full salary of President and Vice President in the budget.

7. Reduce the purchase of vehicles for central government offices.

8. More allocations to hospitals, primary and secondary schools, UTG and skills training centres, police and fire stations, social welfare programs, facilities and services.

9. More resources to diversified and quality food production, processing, storage and marketing facilities and agricultural development.

10. More allocations to the construction of roads and energy infrastructure.

We need a budget that creates opportunities for children, youth and women. We need a budget that builds skills and knowledge. We need a budget that provides adequate and quality social goods and services. We need a budget that builds national capacity to produce, manufacture and build. We need a budget that develops lives and livelihoods of citizens! We need a budget that energises the private sector and encourages local investment!

We do not need a budget that enriches public officers and widens the gap between the haves and have-nots. We do not need a budget that generates inequality, poverty and debt!

For the Gambia, Our Homeland!

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
8491 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2017 :  15:29:41  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gambians need to know president’s salary

The Point: Friday, December 08, 2017


http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/gambians-need-to-know-presidents-salary

Hon. Halifa Sallah, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Serrekunda Central has argued that Gambians need to know the monthly salary and allowances allocated to the Gambian president, Adama Barrow.


Hon. Sallah was contributing during the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year Budget debate on Thursday at the Assembly. He told deputies that there was nowhere in the budget in which President Barrow’s monthly salary and allowances were reflected.

This, according to Hon. Sallah, was in total contravention of the 1997 constitution. “Honorable speaker, if we look at the final phase of the analysis of the expenditure side; I have looked at the head that deals with the president’s office; we will deal with it at committee’s stage; I have not seen the salary of a president and the allowances of a president,” he argued. “And, it did not use to appear before, but this is a changed dispensation; and Section 68 of the constitution is very clear. It states that the president shall receive such salary and allowances as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly. And, such salary and allowances shall not be altered.”

He further argued that Section 72 also deals with the salary of the vice president and the ministers. “Section 72 (3), the vice president shall be entitled to such remuneration etc.; you will see the ministries. Why the ministers documented where it should be documented and not for the side of the president and office for the president? What is responsible?” the Serrekunda MP asked.

Mr. Sallah raised the plight of low earning civil servants especially drivers, arguing that the current salary gap is not balanced—given the high cost of living among other domestic challenges facing the country.

Sallah also expressed concern over some of the budgetary allocation to certain ministries, while sectors such Health, Agriculture and Education are not poorly funded.

“And, you look at the personal emoluments; but you will see that the personal emoluments; what it takes is maniacal; just for example, let say Ministry of Foreign Affairs or president’s office, or look at basic education; you will see that whilst the salaries and allowances will take 141 million; you see that what would be left will be over 547 million,” he said.

“So, in essence then, looking at what is before us; we have made adjustments to be able to deal with the current realities of the country. But the adjustments we are making should enable us to move into the future so that we will not be depending on external budget support,” he added.

Author: Njie Baldeh

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
8491 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2017 :  18:24:19  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
NAMs Call for Prioritization of Social Services, Youth Empowerment
Foroyaa: December 8, 2017
By: Kebba AF Touray


National Assembly Members have expressed their resolve on the need to prioritize the country’s social services and youth empowerment in the budget estimates, as they are key pillars in the development of the country. The honourable members made these and other assertions during yesterday’s debate on the 2018 budget estimate.

Hon. Ousman Sillah, member for Banjul North, called on the Finance Minister to prioritize health, agriculture and youth empowerment during budget estimation. He said Government should ensure the implementation of the Abuja Declaration, which advocates for 15% of the local Fund to be allocated to the health sector; that this is important considering the current conditions of the country’s health sector which is faced with serious challenges, key among them, inadequate medical staff, supplies and equipment among others. He cited that without these, the attainment of quality and accessible health care services will be mission impossible.

He called on Government to work towards the implementation of its commitment to the Maputu Declaration, where they are committed to allocate 10 percent of the national economy to agriculture to boost the sector, because it is the mainstay of the country’s economy. On youth empowerment, Hon. Sillah urged Government to invest more in the youth and create opportunities for them, to help curb irregular migration, unemployment and the crime rate. He called for the adjustment in the budget allocation to the Fisheries department, which he said has the potential of creating job for the youth, supplement the nutritional intake of the populace and boost the economy.

On celebrations, he pointed out that at this crucial moment of the country, there is no need for celebrations but to make savings.

Hon. Saikou Marong, Member for Latrikunda Sabiji, said the health sector is faced with daunting challenges that need urgent intervention; that this should be reflected in the estimates by allocating a befitting budget to the sector; that in 2013, the maternal and mortality rate was 33 per 10,000; neonatal mortality 21 per 1000; 34 per 1000 in infant mortality and in health delivery system the number of nurses is 3.2 nurses per 10,000. He called on the Finance Minister to prioritize the health sector during the budget allocation to make these and other scary scenarios facing the health sector a thing of the past.

On the Ministry of Youth and Sport, he urged that the sector be fully catered for because it is charged with improving the welfare of young people who are the future leaders and cream of the society. “This is a new Gambia and the ideas of a new Gambia must be reflected in the budget. The youth need to be catered for”, he said. He called on the Ministry of Trade to also prioritize youth in their action plans and provide job opportunities for them. On celebrations, Hon. Marong argued that the National Independence of the country is worth celebrating, but slams other celebrations saying ‘‘we don’t need them,” considering the terrible economy that the country has at the moment.

Hon. Bakary Camara, member for Central Badibou, lauded the Finance Minister for the additional D73 million estimate, to be allocated to the health sector; that this will go a long way in addressing the problems facing the health sector

He spoke of the need to address the problem of lack of skills and education in youth, without which the provision of youth employment will be a waste; that skills and education of youth are prerequisites in the effective implementation of the job.

The member for Sami Alfusainey Ceesay, said this government inherited bad governance but they are doing what they can to see that all sectors are considered; that the Gambian people are just eager to see rapid changes and said that Rome was not built in a day; thus the need for them to take things easy.

He commended Government for increasing the transport allowances for civil servants describing this as a great stride but raised concern over teachers in the provinces. According to him, teachers in the provinces are not entitled to transport allowance and therefore questioned the package Government has in place for them.

On Agriculture, Hon. Ceesay said people always concentrate on crop production and neglect animal husbandry which is also part of agriculture; that if crop production fails, they can sell their animals to gain income. He stressed the need for them to consider animal husbandry under agriculture.

On Youth and Sports, he said more needs to be allocated to this sector in order to build more skill centers which will help the youth to be engaged in something meaningful.

The member for Jimara, Alagie H. Sowe, frowned on the budget allocated for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, noting that it is too much and should be cut and transferred to the Ministry of Youth and Sport and Communications respectively.

Sainey Touray, National Assembly Member for Jarra East, said the office of the First Lady which is included in the draft estimates is not constitutional and should not be included in the budget; that as law makers they should be doing the right thing.

The member for Wuli West Sedia Jatta, told the finance Minister that they are going to deal with the document seriously and called on him to help them to get rid of the unnecessary estimates and put them where it is necessary; that many people are lying sick in this country and cannot be cured in the country because there is no money to take them somewhere else; that if a member of parliament has a serious accident, they rush him to India or if a minister falls sick, they rush him to the US. He described this as unfair, unsafe and incorrect. “But the time has come when this country must have a hospital where if you cannot be cured, you cannot be cured anywhere else. This is the country where you must do it and can do it,” he assured.

The Wuli West NAM said Gambia has been re-born and they belong to a new Gambia; that they are tired and everything must change. He described Agriculture, health and education as important towards the development of the country describing them as the economic drivers; that when they revised last year’s budget, it was indicated that it has a deficit of 4 billion as there was no budget support and because they were able to have budget support, it was bit down to D950million; that this year also when the budget estimates were being formulated, considerate amount was made of budget support and grant; that no nation including the Gambia, can ever develop with loans and grants; that The Gambia can develop itself with the resources available at its disposal without seeking for help outside. Hon. Jatta said The Gambia is moving towards the direction of becoming a model for the world; that The Gambia must primarily be dependent on itself for survival and anything else should be secondary. While thanking the Minister for the changes they did to the budget, he said they want to add their input so that together they can create a Gambian nation which will also be giving out to others as they cannot just be receiving without giving out, noting that this is how relationships work.

The Members for Kiang West, tumana, Upper Nuimi, Illiassa, Nianija and Nominated Member Kumba Jatta all added their voice to the debate.

NAMs called on the Minister to invest more in youth development for the betterment of the country. NAMS also frowned against the ‘many celebrations’ in the country excluding Independence Day, which they described as unnecessary expenditures and should be cut down.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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