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Finance minister spars with lawmakers on legality of D700m

May 8, 2020, 11:39 AM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

It was a heated debate between the Finance minister and members of the FPAC committee, as they sparred on legality of the money used by President Barrow as food aid package to Gambians.

Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Mambureh Njie said that they have not done any extra-budgetary expenditure aside from the amount adopted by the National Assembly to respond to covid-19.

The Finance minister was speaking in an interview with journalists after he was invited today (Thursday) by the National Assembly Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) to shed more light on the D700 million that have been taken from the national budget to make a quick response to covid-19.

“The most important is that the amount appropriated by the National Assembly is still respected and we have not done any extra-budgetary expenditure,” said Mambureh Njie.

He added that out of the 24 virements, 20 of them were all on travels,but currently there is a travel ban.

“So it was very clear indication that we can use those funds especially the intent; is all about the covid-19 related and we need to respond. We should be proud of ourselves that it is our money that we are using at this moment. We are accountable and we are doing it in the right way.”

The IMF and other donor partners have given The Gambia a lift not to pay loans for this year until a period of 5 years to start paying.

“The second virement which is to the tune of about D734 million and it is very clear and everybody is aware that last year I made a pronouncement that we are now enjoying a debt deferral and we made lot of savings from that debt deferral and it is very clear.”

The Finance minister revealed that the second virement is 100 percent coming from the savings they made from that debt deferral.

“I said it’s very clear that we relied and guided by the Public Finance Act 2014 and the 1997 Constitution. The Public Finance was done after the 1997 constitution and it’s a delegated authority and what we have relied on is very clear on section 29 on the virement and the powers vested on the ministry and the minister in particular to reallocate funds,” he said.

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