The National Assembly in partnership with the International Republican Institute (IRI) on Tuesday 27th November, 2018 began a week long pre-budget analysis retreat to critically examine the 2019 Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the government.
The training which is underway at Tendaba Camp in the Lower River Region came a day after the 2019 Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of The Gambia was tabled before deputies by the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs.
In his welcome remarks, Momodou A. Sise, Clerk of the National Assembly said the training is one of the instruments utilized by the National Assembly and development partners to ensure that Hon. Members acquire the required knowledge, skills and expertise to dealing with the National Budget given the fact that the Constitution allocates only 14 days for the National Assembly to consider and Approve the Draft Estimates. Thus the necessity to adequately prepare NAMs for the challenging engagement.
“Since one of the core Mandates of the National Assembly is to ensure that the government fulfil the needs and aspirations of the people they represent, NAMs must be sufficiently informed in order to authorise government expenditures and revenues knowledgeably”, he stated.
Whilst delivering the official opening address, the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Mariam Jack Denton said the training is fundamental because a well-informed and skilled legislature will provide reminded NAMs that the Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure sets out the forecasts for the macroeconomic variables and the baseline scenario for revenue and expenditure flows for the government. Adding that it comprises the macroeconomic objectives notably income of the government and the programme projections for the public sectors for the year under review.
She went on to note that the pre-budget analysis training is sanctioned to provide Hon. Members with the core requirements for effective budget scrutiny. Such requirements she stated, include among others, ensuring that NAMs receive comprehensible information on the budget and acquire the resources and skills to interpret and utilise such information.
“This pre-budget analysis retreat which always preceded the budget sessions of the National Assembly is in accordance with Section 27 of the Public Finance Act, 2014, which requires the National Assembly to appoint a small core of technical staff to assist in gathering information, making research and analysis on issues pertinent to its deliberations and resolutions on the Budget submitted to it by the Minister. It is geared towards ensuring that Hon. NAMs participate in the improvement of the quality and efficiency of public services by appropriating funds on the basis of expectations and results on performance”, she remarked.