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Draft 2012 Budget estimate tabled before Parliament

Dec 5, 2011, 1:34 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie, Thursday tabled before deputies at the National Assembly, the estimates of revenues, recurrent and development expenditures for the fiscal year 2012.

Under the 2012 budget estimate, total revenue and grants in 2012 is projected at D5.77 billion compared to 5.65 billion in 2011.

Revenue is also expected to increase in nominal terms from D4.59 billion in 2011 to D4.61 billion in 2012 on account of increased receipts from non-tax revenue.

In his submission, Finance minister, Mambury Njie said the Gambia Revenue Authority is expected to make significant improvements in tax administration by improving compliance levels through better tax auditing practices, among other strategies.

“Total expenditure and net-lending is projected to increase by about 10 percent from D6.11 billion in 2011 to D6.72 billion in 2012,” he said, adding that the rise in total expenditure is explained mainly by increases in other current expenditures and anticipated project grants.

According to him, personnel expenditures is projected to increase from D1.67 billion in 2011 to D1.73 in 2012, representing an increase of 3%.

“Other charges are estimated to stand at D2.54 billion in 2012 compared to D2.26 billion in 2011, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 12.6 percent. The increased provision to accommodate the new sub-vented institutions in the budget contributed to the increase in other charges expenditures,” he explained.

Noting that the economy remains strong, despite the uncertainties in the global economic environment, Finance and Economic Affairs minister Njie went on to state that domestic borrowing is projected to increase from D120 million in 2011 to D541 million in 2012.

He told deputies that the settlement of NAWEC arrears and other liabilities is projected to increase from D31 million in 2011 to D45 million in 2012.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said, is estimated to grow by 5.5 percent in 2011 underpinned by healthy performance of the agricultural and telecommunication sectors.

Inflation, he went on, continues to be subdued with end-September 2011 inflation standing at 4.1 percent compared to 6.2 percent a year earlier.

“The decline in inflation is explained mainly by food items, accounting for 55 percent of the weight of the basket of goods and services. Inflation is projected to remain within the target of 6 percent during the year 2011,” he stated.

He further told deputies that government fiscal operations during the first three quarters of 2011 yielded an overall deficit (excluding grants) of D889.9 million, 2.8 percent of GDP, mirroring expenditures of D3.7 billion against a revenue outturn of D2.8 billion during the period under review.

The Finance and Economic Affairs minister also stated that over the last few years, his ministry made concerted efforts to improve tax policy and administration.

However, he noted that volatility in revenue performance has been evident, which affects both the budget preparation and execution process.

“In almost all indicators, revenue performance signals a downward trend in recent years,” he said, noting that in view of the foregoing, the GRA will strengthen its enforcement of tax laws.

Meanwhile, deputies at the National Assembly Friday took part in a day-long annual pre-budget retreat on the draft 2012 budget estimate, coordinated by Pro-PAG.