Suwaibou Touray, the representative of the Wuli East constituency, has urged the Finance Minister Mamburay Njie to curtail spending to ensure public debt is brought down to a manageable level.
Gambia is in a debt distress and in the 2020 budget estimates that Njie presented before lawmakers, the country is expected to spend a staggering D9.4 billion, 37.5% of its total revenue, on debt services.
This means every dalasi Gambia government gets, about 37 bututs will go to servicing its debt. The lawmakers began the debate on the D24-billion dalasis budget on Wednesday.
However, despite its higher debt level and a D5.6 billion deficit, D3.9 billion of which will be financed from the domestic market, Government’s appetite for spending keeps growing.
“The growth of the economy is slowing down… This means that we are receiving less revenue and we are still bent on borrowing more just to spend more… We are saying we want to reduce our debt yet we are talking more loan…,” said Touray.
“Instead of addressing the real problems of our economy, we keep on borrowing more… This budget I have seen does not demonstrate fiscal discipline.”
As a suggestion of measures needed to cut public spending, Omar Touray, a representative of Sabach Sanjal, urged the Finance Ministry to downsize the country’s embassies.
“The recurrent budget is not about development. It is about maintenance of the state… The money is not going to the productive sector,” said veteran lawmaker Halifa Sallah.
Meanwhile, Omar Ceesay of Niamina East, has asked for reduction of number of advisers appointed at the Presidency.
“We cannot continue to have these advisers at the office of the President… We have to better utilize the tax payers’ money,” argued Ceesay.
The lawmaking body will make its final decision on the budget on Friday. the lawmakers hold the ultimate authority to decide which sector gets what in the budget.