20 December 2017

Gambia: "We Will Have to Increase Taxes If... ." - Finance Minister

Mr. Amadou Sanneh, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has said Government will have to increase taxes as there is no other way of funding the national budget. "Next budget if I come and I don't have the resources, there is no support budget, we will have to increase taxes. There is no other way to fund this," he said

Speaking to deputies at the National Assembly during the debate on the Appropriation Bill 2018, the Finance Minister said it is better to rationalize and achieve an optimal structure that is efficient and effective in service delivery to the people, rather than having big institutions and nothing is happening. This he went on, is not good for the Gambia and they want change and everybody voted for change. "So that is what we are offering," he said.

Further responding to concerns on the establishment of Foreign offices, Mr. Sanneh said the setting up of the diplomatic missions is a little bit beyond their means but they cannot just cut it off as there are people who are appointed and they have to pay them.

"If you have to bring them back, you have to finance them. So that is why, we have made provisions for them. But during the year, there will be a strategic study on our diplomatic policies and also subvention agencies. We have so many and they really consume a lot from the budget. So we have to see if some of these can operate effectively within a Ministry instead of giving it a broad institutional setup which is very expensive," he explained.

"This setup cost everybody because its tax payer's money", he added. The Finance Minister said it may be painful as some people may have to lose their jobs and they have to close certain areas.

"Losing a job does not mean that is the end of the day. It means you have to look for another opportunity. As negative as you can look at it but it can spell something positively for the individual to become more creative in business or something," he noted.

He added that this may yield something that will be more than the salary that individual was earning. "So let's look at this in 2018 and see how it becomes," he concluded.

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