Gambia: National Assembly Commences Thorough Scrutiny of National Budget

The National Assembly took on a new approach to scrutinizing the national budget and they have promised that next year the scrutiny will be more stringent. Following the developments that took place this year, few people would doubt that, that promise at least will be fulfilled. A revolution was promised in terms of scrutiny of the Estimates and a revolution did take place when a motion was made to commence scrutiny by committees of the National Assembly of each head of the budget.

The National Assembly first broke into committees to engage each ministry on its budget allocation. This was followed by debate on the principles and merit of the Estimates until resolutions could be reached to consider the merit of Estimates, item by item. This led to cuts in certain areas and additions to areas like agriculture, health; and cutting down on budget deficit in order to reduce the burden of borrowing. The strategy of the National Assembly in scrutinizing the Estimates is to encourage the government to reduce budget deficit, reduce domestic borrowing, increase allocation to the productive sectors, infrastructure, health and education, whilst putting youth and women concerns into considering. Convincing efforts were made to ensure that what is approved in the Estimates is featured in the Appropriation Bill without any alterations. Consequently, on Wednesday, 11th December, the Assembly gave the nation its budget for the 2020 financial year. It is anticipated that the National Assembly, through its committees, will monitor the implementation of the budget allocations so that what is provided would go where it should. If the National Assembly plays this role the Gambian population would see the benefits of having a functional National Assembly.

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