Lawmakers debate the budget estimates of 2019 about a week after it was tabled by finance minister Mamburay Njie.
The lawmaker representing Banjul North, Ousman Sillah, has cautioned the government to ensure judicious use of state resources to avoid unnecessary borrowing which could hurt the economy.
Gambia’s debt to GDP ratio currently stance at 88% declining from 130% due to the recalculation of the country’s GDP in 2017.
The country currently owes over D60 billion, risking defaulting if it does not curtail spending.
“Government is telling us that the interest is to reduce borrowing, particularly domestic borrowing, but you can see that borrowing for last year was D900, 000 000 but this coming year it is projected to be D3.4 billion…,” said Sillah.
“The appetite to borrow is still there. So how can the private sector participate in the economy when there is still appetite for borrowing?”
Sillah said there is liquidity in the banks but they would not lend the private sector if they can get a safe money from Government.
Gambia’s economic growth is expected to reach 7% in 2019. But Sillah said growth statistics are “meaningless” if its impact is not felt by the people.