The Gambia's Finance Minister, Mambury Njie, has disclosed to the lawmakers that, in order to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the livelihoods of Gambian students abroad, the Government has extended D18 million to respond to the needs of the deserving students.
Minister Njie said this while tabling the supplementary appropriation bill, before the legislature for scrutiny, consideration and approval.
The ultimate goal of the supplementary budget, is to cover costs arising from the need to combat the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as other essential and urgent budgetary needs that are directly or indirectly related to the pandemic.
Minister Njie added the supplementary estimates among other things, is also factored to address specific needs that may not be necessarily associated with COVID-19 pandemic, including payments owed to Kharafi and Shapoorji, rehabilitation of Basse and Brikama Markets, construction of a mausoleum for the late Sir. Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
Cognizance of the low daily earnings of the citizenry, he said they have factored D845 million contingency and logistic package in the budget, to cater for the provision of rice, sugar and vegetable oil to be distributed to the most vulnerable households across the country.
He said the distribution mechanism is deduced on the basis of the 2013 integrated household survey conducted by GBoS, coupled with the recent survey conducted by National Assembly Members, Local Government Authorities and the National Disaster Management Agency.
He said: "This exercise indicates that a total of 201,600 households displayed a high level of vulnerability. Out of these, 84 percent (169,344 households) are in the rural communities and 16 percent (32,256 households) in the urban areas".
In order to boost internal trade within the country, he said they have proposed to embark on a rural roads project at a cost of D500 million, which is a fraction of the total cost of the project and that they intend to commence works this year.
He further said that D15 million, is proposed to construct a Mausoleum for Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, including a Presidential library, so as to leave a legacy, in honor of the numerous sacrifices DK Jawara made for the country.
He continued that the government has also factored a D87 million for the implementation of the Gambia Electricity Restoration Modernization Project, of which D10 million has so far been disbursed, additional resources to the tune of D144 million for the settlement of MA Kharafi and D30 million land compensation fee for the URR roads and bridges project.