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Sidia Jatta says taxation cannot bring development

Dec 9, 2009, 11:55 AM | Article By: Alieu Jabang and Sainey MK Marenah

Honourable Sidia Jatta, the National Assembly Member for Wuli West Constituency has said that taxation cannot bring about good development, maintaining that "it is not a measure which is adequate enough to bring about development."

Honourable Jatta made these remarks while contributing on the budget estimate for the year 2010, at the National Assembly on Monday.

In his view sources of revenue should not in anyway increase poverty, nor should expenditures go to increase poverty or undermine macro-economic stability.

"Sources of revenue should not increase poverty, nor should expenditures go to increase poverty or undermine any macro-economic stability that you talk about," he stated.

According to him, an economy which is fundamentally tax-based would have problems in terms of development, saying that since he came into the National Assembly as a parliamentarian the budget had almost anchored on poverty reduction.

He said it seems that statistics are still not very clear on poverty reduction.

The former PDOIS Presidential candidate critically argued on the estimates provision for Junior Ministers on the basis that there is no provision for such portfolios in the national constitution. He said the provision for the Junior Ministers in the budget estimate would only bring about waste of resources. He called for what he described as a need for physical discipline.

For his part, Honourable Momodou Lamin Sanneh, the Minority Leader and Member for Kiang West Constituency called for the reformation of Gambian laws.

He said the amount budgeted for the National Council for Law Reform in 2008 was at D 270,000, while in 2009 it was 1.5 million and in 2010 is 1.5 million.

"Having looked and considered the importance of the Law Reform Commission in this country, you realised that our laws need to be reformed. And for so long our laws have not been reformed and this commission has been set up for quite a long time and up till now our laws that need to be reformed has not been reformed," he said.

He said "the need to reform our laws to come to the standard is crucial and in doing so the amount budgeted for this Law Reform Commission under 2010 is very minimal."

As a result of this, he urged the Minister of Finance to consider this area, which he said, is very crucial.

He also called on government to give extra support to the National Road Authority to be able to rehabilitate the roads.

He commended the government for instituting this agency, which he said, is timely and welcoming. He was quick to add that the budget allocated for both the National Assembly which was reduced from D400, 000 in 2009 to D300, 000 in 2010 and the National Road Authority in 2010 is very minimal. He said there's the need to consider the crucial role these institutions play in national development.

He said that the GRTS satellite link charges at D60 million is on the high side and maintained that it should be discouraged.

"Looking at the amount stated for the GRTS satellite link charges amounting to D 60 million is not a small money. As much as we want satellite in this country, as much as we want development in this country, Madam Speaker I am with the opinion that D 60 million is a huge sum," he stressed.