Gambia: Deputy Speaker Calls for Proper Scrutiny of the Draft Estimates

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Momodou LK Sanneh, has urged his fellow lawmakers to scrutinise the draft estimates 2020, as it is the life blood of the county.

He said this yesterday during the debate on the draft estimate budget 2020 tabled before the Assembly last week for scrutiny, consideration and adoption.

On allowances, he tasked the Finance Minister to tell them how much is involved in the new allowances created in the estimate from the Office of the President, Judiciary and others, because it also includes professional, risk, transport, telephone, responsibility and special skills allowances.

He said: "Adding these allowances together, I think this take almost half of the budget. So, I suggest that if we know the figures of the allowances, we will be able to do justice to the document, because people are required to get allowance but not the allowance that will hinder the development of this country."

On budget support, he said the Minister told them that the revenue for recurrent development expenditure for the fiscal year 2020, contributed to the attainment of the net domestic borrowing (NDB) target of 1 percent, whilst gross domestic revenue for 2018.

He said the Minister also told them that the EU component of 25 million budget support was received in respect of 2019 even in 2018. He said the budget support is crucial for the county.

He asked" "It is a projection, it likely to come or not. I want to find out from the Minister of Finance what conditions are attached to this budget support for a country like ours? So that we can get this budget support."

He said the Minister reported that the EU and World Bank budget support, which comprise the bulk of the estimate budget support for 2019, did not materialize as at end December 2019. He said the Minister also told them that the World Bank budget support is unlikely to materialize due to slippage, as such it led to non-realization of certain development policies operations.

He stressed: "This is another area of concern to me since it is the statement made by the Minister. In view of these statements, can the Minister inform this august body the measures to be taken on slippage from non-realization of certain development policy operation and the mechanism the Finance Minister has put in place to ensure that slippages are taken care of ?"

He asked the Minister also tell Parliament what measures and negotiations that his Ministry has taken to ensure that the EU 22 million Euro expected to be received before the end of 2019, is received by the government.

On the medium-term debt objective, he said the Minister also said that the net borrowing is expected to be around 2.5 percent which is 1.5 percent higher than the target.

He asked: "How has this managed to rise up to 2.5 percent. Could the Minister explain to this Assembly the fiscal consultation measures taken to ensure that we are able to attain the medium term strategic objective?"

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