Assembly rejects gov’t supplementary budget proposal

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By Tabora Bojang The National Assembly yesterday rejected a D1.128 billion Supplementary Appropriation Bill presented by the government over failure to meet requirements and procedures. The proposal was tabled before the National Assembly by the Finance minister Mambury Njie, requesting for an additional budget approval covering January- December 2018. According to the assembly’s Finance and Public Accounts Committee on the Supplementary Estimates, 2018 the executive failed to furnish the house with justifiable means in connection to the appropriate use of resources in providing base for the approval of the bill as well as disregarding the procedures in place by the Constitution before. Deliberating on the motion, Lower Baddibu representative, Alhagie Jawara, said; “We voted for change and when people who mastermind these changes are failing us by reverting to the old system, it is alarming. We have a constitution that guides our operation. The bill is not following the right guide of the Constitution and this bill does not go with financial discipline “The government is not a shop where you can do whatever you want. This is telling us that we do not regard our work plan and procedures in place.” Halifa Sallah, Member for Serekunda said the functions of the state are clearly defined with adequate checks and balances and that they were are not indicting anyone but looking at the national interest and the law. Sallah who cited sections of the Constitution and the Public Finance Act in support of his points argued that where substantial changes and conditions in the economy require additional expenditure, the minster should present a supplementary appropriation before the National Assembly in line with procedures, which he observed, were not followed in this case. Sanna Jawara, Member for Upper Fulladu West also contended, “I am totally not in support of this bill. It has come at a very wrong time and has never happened in the history of the House and is not in line with the laws.” In response Minister Mambury Njie said if the NAMs failed to support the bill, his ministry will take responsibility for it but argued that the government has not spent anything outside its budget. While challenging that the Assembly can launch an investigation into this to ascertain his claim, he appealed to NAMs to ensure that they begin the new year on a clean page. “We are responsible and we know these are the realities of the day. The timing is not the issue, we just thought it will be prudent to gather all the facts. We have the right legally and realise it is important to fund these commissions.”]]>