By Momodou Jarju

The Director of Economic Policy and Research at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, disclosed that they are currently negotiating with the World Bank and European Union (EU), to lure them for budget support worth over three billion dalasi.

Babucarr Jobe, while speaking to journalists at a joint press conference between the Information Ministry and the Finance and Economic Affairs Ministry, said the budget support is aimed at actualizing Government’s development programmes that were mentioned in the 2019 budget speech, delivered by the Finance Minister Mamburay Njie.

Jobe said close to 41 million dollars or a little over two billion dalasi (D2,036,060,000), is being negotiated with the World Bank, together with another amount of 25 million Euros, or a little over one billion dalasi (about D1,395,500,000) with EU; that the Gambia’s relation with International development partners is strong; that they currently plan to have a spring meeting this April with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to engage them in terms of development assistance.

“Not only are we dealing with the World Bank and the IMF, but we are also dealing with the African Development Bank which has pledged support to the development agenda of the country, including the Islamic Development Bank as well,” Jobe said.

He said the country’s economic growth has picked up from 2016 to date citing a 2.2% increase in 2016 to 4.6% in 2017. “And preliminary estimates for 2018 gives a growth estimate of 6.6%. That is the growth rate for the Gambian economy as a whole. We have realised that inflation has actually gone down from 6.9% in 2017 to 6.1% in January this year. You realise that international reserves of the Gambia have picked up about D193 million which is almost three months of prospective income cover for the economy,” Jobe indicated.

50% Pledges Committed:

For his part, the Director of Development Planning at the Finance and Economic Affairs Ministry Alagie Fadera, said since President Adama Barrow launched the National Development Plan (NDP) in February 2018, resource mobilization ensued.

He said the International Donor Conference held in Brussels in May was part of the resource mobilization where 1.7 billion dollars (D84, 422,000,000) was pledged as support towards the implementation of the NDP. Fadera said nearly 50% of the resources pledged at the donor conference has been committed but clarified that the pledges were not in bulk as perceived by many Gambians.

Annual Progress Report:

Fadera said the NDP has made provision for an annual progress report that will look at the achievements, lessons learned and things they ought to do differently, to accelerate the pace of achievement the country wants; that the first report for the year 2018, which will be a participatory exercise, is initiated and its presentation is expected to be finalized by June 2019.

“It will not just be Government talking to itself, but Government discussing and consulting other stakeholders who were included in the formulation process,” Fadera concludes.

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