Minister of Finance, Mambury Njie

By: Kebba AF Touray

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mamburey Njie, said the projected total revenue and grants in the 2019 fiscal year, stands at D25.28 billion, representing an increment of 27% over the 2018 figure of D19.84 billion. Njie disclosed these and other remarks yesterday at the National Assembly, while presenting the estimates of revenues, recurrent and development expenditures of the country, for 2019 fiscal year.

He unveiled that project grants are estimated to increase from D8.2 billion in 2018, to D9.9 billion in 2019, whilst the budget support which is estimated at D3.4 billion, is expected to come from development partners, mainly the European Union and the World Bank.

Njie continued that total expenditure and net lending is projected to increase from D20.76 billion in 2018, to D28.73 billion in 2019, representing an increase of 38%; that this is attributed to the development budget, which is primarily financed by development partners.

He further said that personal emoluments and expenditures are projected to increase significantly from D2.830 billion in 2018, to D4.137 billion in 2019, due mainly to a Cabinet proposal to increase the basic salary of Civil servants by 50% and a 100% increase for pensioners.

He said the Gambian economy is expected to grow by 6.8% in 2018, compared to 4.6% in 2017; that the agriculture sector by negative 8% in 2017 to 4.7% in 2018; that overall, the economy is expected to register a growth of 4.5% in 2019.

Njie stated that industry is projected to experience significant growth of 17% in 2018, compared to zero growth in 2017; that NAWEC’s energy sector grew by 20% in 2018, compared to an outturn of 4% in 2017; that mining and quarrying is expected to slightly grow from 12% in 2017, to 3% in 2018, with an improvement in construction sector from 8% to 19% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“The service sector is expected to experience a setback in growth from 10.6% in 2017 to 4.3% in 2018, due to an unexpected decline in performance on all components of the sector. However tourism continues to play a significant role in the services sector and remains the leading foreign exchange earner for the economy,” he said.

He said agriculture is forecasted to cover 23% of GDP in 2018; that the industry accounts for 16%, while the service sector is estimated to account for 61% of GDP in 2018. He said net domestic borrowing as end 2017, was less than D300 million, which is less than 1% of the GDP target.

“Debt interest payment is projected to consume around 25% of Government’s tax revenue in 2019, compared to 26% budgeted in 2018. Thus moving from D2.29 billion in 2018, to D2.70 billion in 2019. Non interest expenditure is estimated to increase from D9.67 in 2018, to D20.06 billion in 2019, and development spending is expected to increase from D11.08 in 2018, to D15.93 billion in 2019,” he concludes.

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