Deputies at the National Assembly Wednesday unanimously amended and approved the 2013 Draft Budget Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of the Republic of The Gambia for the Fiscal Year 1st January to 31st December, 2013, both dates inclusive.
Speaking during the debate, Hon. Foday Jallow, NAM for Niamina East, thanked the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and team of experts for being realistic to the Draft Estimates Revenue and Expenditure. He said that if the estimates are allowed to go into the budget despite the limited resources accompanied with avoiding unnecessary spending and corruption, the objective of the draft budget estimates will be achieved. He also described the draft estimates of the budget as non-controversial.
Hon. Lamin Kebba Jammeh, NAM for Illiasa, also described the draft budget estimates as non-controversial, noting that it is not that much different from the 2012 budget that they approved. "Few adjustments and improvements were made and the introduction of 2013-2015 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) pilot of project starting with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and MoFEA is a laudable move," he said.
Hon. Jammeh added that the draft budget has shown that the expenditure matches the expected revenue, while also lauding MoFEA's foresight to include D25M civil servant loan scheme in the budget, which will encourage civil servants to stay in the Civil Service.
Hon. Fatou Mbye, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, commended the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, noting that the draft estimates are very reasonable and realistic, considering the economic situation of The Gambia and the anticipated expenditure and revenue.
According to her, the key social sectors, among them the education sector, continue to receive the attention it deserves, which she said is a tool to the attainment of the development objective. "It is an open secret that parents still pay for their children's school fees and we look forward to a day when free and compulsory education will be a reality, particularly at the basic level," she said.
She finally urged the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs to work towards realising free and compulsory education, noting that they have been reliably informed that the education sector will need D80M to achieve that target.
Hon. Yaya Dibba, NAM for Kiang West, also welcomed the estimated budget.
Finance minister clarifies
Meanwhile, the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs also used the platform to clarify that that the government's 2013 expenditure and net-lending is projected at D8, 301.5 billion and not D6, 719.3 billion as stated while presenting the draft budget estimates before the House on Monday. He said the total Revenue and Grants for 2013 is D7, 608.8BN and not D6, 528BN. "This is what is in the budget document and I apologise for the error," he stated.
Assembly adjourns until December 14th 2012.