Jul 5, 2017, 2:23 PM
“As National Assembly members, we are representing the people, so we should do what is expected of us,” the Upper Nuimi representative said.
Hon. Jallowwas speaking recently at the National Assembly during the discussion on the estimated budget for the 2016 fiscal year tabled by the Minister of Finance and Economics Affairs.
“What the Assembly needs is the fact and I have seen that the Minister of Finance has told us the fact,” he said.
“We now know what the problems are and since it is not going to be easy, it is incumbent upon every Gambian, that we join hands together to see that the ship would sail on safe waters,” he told fellow deputies.
“Let us look at what is budgeted and work according to that,” the Upper Nuimi member told deputies, adding the economy would face serious problems or a downturn “if you want to spend more than what is budgeted”.
The National Assembly had a stake, which is to work closely with the Finance ministry and monitor the budget, he said, adding: “We have not been following the budget. We don’t know what is going on and we should know.”
Hon. Jallow further said that the estimates was for all of them and they should be having a quarterly report as to how the budget is used, so that they would know how things are, adding that this is something that they should work on.
“Let us not sit down; we are here representing the people, and the projects or developments that we are expecting to take down to our people are what we are here for,” the Upper Nuimi told fellow MPs.
“Let us try and monitor the budget and see how it is going. What has been budgeted for, whether it is available or not or what are the strategies we have to come up with to ensure that we achieve this. I think this is the role we should play,” he said.
In his contribution to the scrutiny of the budget, Hon. Sainey Mbye, National Assembly member for Upper Saloum, said looking at the budget estimates “I understand that the budget is doing well.”
“For those of us who have been in parliament for some time, we know that this is a reality,” he said, adding that the minister, during the laying or tabling of the budget estimates, mentioned that the 2016 revenue, both the grant and the revenue, was projected to be at D12.9 million compared to 2015, which was D11 million.
Looking at the figure there was a slight increment in the budget, he said, adding that the increase was mainly based on domestic tax, which is the VAT, and thanked the Gambia Revenue Authority for a “job well done”.
“When we passed the VAT here, some were speculating whether it would work and I think the VAT has paid dividends because we have seen now how the VAT has increased our revenue,” said Hon. Mbye.
The Upper Saloum MP further informed deputies that government “intends to carry out a lot of projects in 2016” and the budget for such outlays could not be met without funds.
“The Gambia is a tax-based economy. People need to pay their tax for us to achieve what we intend to do. We should pay our tax on time so that government can achieve set goals and objectives.”