By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Gambia Parliament on Thursday approved with amendments, the revised estimated budget 2022.
The bill was tabled before the legislative house during the first extraordinary session by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita.
While tabling the bill for scrutiny, consideration and adoption, he told the parliament that the revised budget when passed would improve the lives and livelihoods of the civil servants in particular and Gambians in general within a stable and sound economic environment.
Minister Keita said the submission of this revised budget is premised on the downward revision of total Revenues amounting to D3.3 billion (11% reduction of the approved 2022 budget); reduction of expenditure of D1.2 billion from domestic debt service, and cuts from MDAS (3.4% of the approved Budget); funding of the salary increment amounting to D575 million; the creation of two new Ministries (Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and the Ministry of Public Service, Administrative Reforms, Policy Coordination and Delivery).
“This proposed budget is reflective of the current economic realities and consistent with a stable macroeconomic framework,” he told the parliament.
The Finance Minister said as both the domestic and global economies began to recover from the effects of the pandemic in 2022, the Russia-Ukraine war brought about a “dramatic shift” in the global economic conditions characterized by heighten supply side constraints, and higher food and energy prices fueling inflationary pressures across the globe.
Hon. Keita added that the resulting effect is the growing poor performance of domestic resource mobilization, affecting oil related taxes as well putting increasing pressures on government spending needs.
“These effects together with the creation of additional two new Ministries and the decision of government to increase the salary of civil servants necessitated the revision of the approved 2022 budget to accommodate these changes,” he disclosed.
He continued that the 30% basic salary increment only covers the civil servants (Ministries and Departments) and subvented hospitals and schools under the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
The Minister disclosed that the general salary increment of 30% on basic salaries excludes pensioners.
“The pensioners are excluded because their pensions were increased by 100% in 2018. This increment resulted to an income mismatch between active employees and pensioners and therefore, their exclusion is meant to correct this anomaly,” said Keita.