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Finance Minister presents 2013 Budget Estimates to National Assembly

Dec 4, 2012, 10:35 AM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Abdou Colley, yesterday laid before the deputies the 2013 annual estimates of revenue and expenditure of the Gambia government.

In his statement presenting the said estimates, Minister Colley said within a weak global economic environment, revenue projections for 2013 have been cautious.

According to him, in order to avoid a spiralling of our already high domestic debt, domestic financing of the budget has been limited to about D340 million.

Minister Colley went on to say that there was a rigorous prioritization in this budget to make sure that expenditure outlays match revenue projections as much as possible within a limited scope for increase in domestic debt to finance the deficit.

“Total revenue and grants is projected to rise by 13.1% in 2013 to D6, 528.2 million. This is principally due to an 18.4 % rise in tax revenue,” he said.

 According to him, the key drivers of this increase in revenue will be income tax, both personal and company, as well as import sales tax on non-oil items and collections from the replacement for sales tax, the VAT.

The Finance minister said that these forecasts assume GRA will continue to make improvements in compliance levels thus non-tax revenue is expected to rise by 4.8 % to D598.7 million.

He noted that grants are expected to be almost double the 2012 levels to stand at D2.2 billion, while the total expenditure and net-lending is projected to rise from D6, 719.3 million in 2012 to D7, 398.9 million in 2013.

“Personal expenditures are projected increase by 8.6 % to stand at D1, 861.7 million. Other current expenditure is estimated to be D1933.1 million a rise of by 3.2 % from 2012 while capital spending is estimated to rise by 18.o % in 2013,” he added.

The finance minister told National Assembly members that government will continue to consolidate the macroeconomic gains recorded for the past successive years.

He noted that the 2011 crop failure has weakened economic activity during the first quarter of 2012.

He said a significant increase in government revenues has been recorded thus far in 2012, as government implemented multiple measures to bolster revenues and tax compliance such as the establishment of a commission of enquiry into tax evasion and other corrupt practices.