The Gambia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Sanneh, has announced the government’s plan to sell four aircraft obtained by the government.
The minister made the announcement to lawmakers when he presented the revised 2017 draft estimates of revenue and expenditure (the revised national budget) of The Gambia government in Banjul on Thursday.
The sale of the planes, which are believed to be parked at Banjul International Airport, and alongside four landed properties situated in the Tourism Development Area, before the end of this year, is expected to generate D471 million (more than $10 million) which would be put in state coffers to address the economic challenges the new government inherited from Jammeh’s 22-year rule.
Meanwhile the Finance minster also told the Assembly that there is a need to revise the budget by reducing the estimated expenditure in the original 2017 budget prepared in 2016 by the former government, and the new government will manage with the funds which become available up to the end of this year.
Consequently, Minister Sanneh called for financial discipline in the public sector, citing the civil servants’ use of government vehicles, for example, as the state needs to cut down on fuel supply expenditure.
He proposed a 2017 budget of 12.24 billion dalasi ($266.8 million), down 6 percent from last year, as it seeks to rein in public debt that ballooned under longtime strongman Yahya Jammeh.
Under Jammeh, compelled to quit earlier this year by threat of force from regional armies after losing an election, public debt rose to 120.3 percent of GDP from 83.3 percent between 2013-2016.
The Finance minister said the budget would cut 475 million dalasi in goods and services in order to address an economic crisis that has left the country with less than two months’ worth of foreign reserves.
Contributions from foreign donors including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and European Union – many of which had cut financial ties to Jammeh’s government – account for nearly 20 percent of this year’s budget, he said.
The budget is 15 percent less than one proposed by Jammeh in December 2016 shortly after losing the election to Barrow.