By Aji Fatou Faal
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Amadou Sanneh on Monday disclosed that the total revenue and grants for 2018 is projected at D19.399 billion, representing an increment of 63 percent over the 2017 figure of D11.909 billion.
He said the increment is mainly attributed to increase performances in project grants.
Hon. Amadou Sanneh made these remarks while tabling the Estimates of Revenues, Recurrent and Development Expenditures for the fiscal year 2018 before the National Assembly Members in Banjul.
He said project grants are estimated to increase from D782 million in 2017 to D8.24 billion in 2018, whilst they are also budgeting for budget support to the tune of D1.96 billion expected to come from their development partners in 2018.
According to him, total expenditure and net-lending is projected to increase from D12.359 in 2017 to D20. 617 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 67 percent, the bulk of which is attributed to capital budget, which is primarily being financed by development partners.
Minister Sanneh stated that personnel expenditures are projected to slightly decrease from D2.682 billion in 2017 to D2.506 billion in 2018, mainly as a result of recent initiatives by government to embark on a nationwide staff audit that led to discovery of several ghost workers on government’s payroll.
He revealed that debt interest payment is projected to consume around 27 percent of government’s tax revenues in 2018 compared to 34 percent budgeted in 2017, moving from D2.768 billion in 2017 to D2.288 billion in 2018. This reduction is as a result of the declining interest rates on government short-term debt instruments.
“Other current (non-interest) expenditure is estimated to the increase from D5.14 billion in 2018. This reflects their intention to further spend on the social sectors, namely health and education, to improve and expand service delivery and achieve better outcomes for all citizens. It also reflects additional spending on agriculture and tourism which are two of the most critical sources of growth and employment in their economy”, he stated.
He told NAMs that the capital spending is estimated to increase drastically from D1.770 billion in 2017 to D5.968 billion in 2018, mainly as a result of various new and ongoing road and infrastructure projects government intends to implement to underpin the economy’s growth and dynamism.
He remain convinced that this budget would be a useful tool in their drive to achieve and sustain macroeconomic stability and the government’s primary objective of reducing poverty and improving basic service delivery for all, if they all recommit to strict fiscal discipline.