QUESTION OF THE DAY
WHO WILL DETERMINE THE BUDGET FOR NEXT YEAR?
According to section 152 of the constitution, the President shall cause the Minister responsible for finance to prepare and lay before the National Assembly at least thirty days before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenue and expenditure of The Gambia for the following financial year. The financial year is from 1 January to 31 December.
In fact the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has already laid the estimates of the income and expenditure for the 2017 before the National Assembly on 5 December 2016. The total revenue and grants is estimated to be 14.4 billion dalasis and the total expenditure and net lending 19.1 billion giving a deficit of 4.7 billion dalasi; bearing in mind that payment of interest on debts is 3.7 billion dalasis. The National Assembly dominated by the APRC is to debate the estimates and within 14 days (that is, 19 December) approve the estimates with amendments, if any.
When the estimates of expenditure have been approved by the National Assembly, the Minister of Finance will deliver his budget speech and introduce an Appropriation Bill in the National Assembly for the issue from the Consolidated Fund of the sums necessary to meet that expenditure under separate votes for the services required. The National Assembly has not more than 7 days after the introduction of the Appropriation Bill to consider and approve the Bill.
In short, as far as the budget for next year is concerned it is the making of the Jammeh administration. It will be there for the Barrow administration to implement it. The question is how much can the Barrow administration do in turning things around by passing supplementary appropriation bills? Food for thought for the incoming government?