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Assembly approves 2013 Draft Budget Estimates

Dec 6, 2012, 8:39 AM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The National Assembly Members on Wednesday 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 on the Estimates before approval, Hon. Foday Jallow, member for Niamina East, thanked the Minister of Finance and team of experts for being realistic in the draft Estimates of revenue and expenditure.

According to him, if the draft estimates go into the budget, despite the limited resources, accompanied with avoiding unnecessary spending and corruption, the objective of the budget will be achieve, noting that the draft is a ‘non-controversial’ one.

He further stated it is incumbent on all to fulfill the demands of the budget by paying tax and on time.

Hon. Lamin Kebba Jammeh, member for Illiasa, also described the estimates as ‘non-controversial’ , adding that the draft budget estimates is not much different from the 2012 budget that they approved.

“Few adjustments and improvements were made, and the introduction of the 2013-2015 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) pilot project, starting with the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and MoFEA is a laudable move.”

Hon. Jammeh added that the draft budget has shown that expenditure matches the expected revenue, while also lauding the MoFEA’s foresight to include the D25M civil servant loan scheme in the budget, which will encourage civil servant to stay in the civil service.

Hon. Fatou Mbye, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, also commended the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and experts, noting that draft the estimates are 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 they deserve, which she said is a tool to the attainment of development objectives.

“It is an open secret that parents still pay for their children school fees, and we look forward to a day when free and compulsory education will be a reality, particularly at the Basic education level.”

She concluded by urging the Minister of Finance to “please work towards realizing free and compulsory education”, noting that they have been reliably informed that Education sector will need D80M to achieve that target.

Hon. Yahya Dibba, Member for Kiang West, also welcomed the draft estimates.

Finance Minister rectifies

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Abdou Kolley, Wednesday rectified what he described as an error in the statement he made on the Budget Estimate before the National Assembly on Monday.

According to Minister Kolley, the Total Revenue and Grants for 2013 is D7, 608.8BN and not D6, 528BN, while the total Expenditure and Net-lending for 2013 is D8, 301.5BN and not D6, 719.3BN.

“This is what is in the Budget document, and I apologize for the error”, he stated.