By Tabora Bojang
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Lamin Camara said that The Gambia’s economic outlook has remained resilient despite the global economic uncertainties in recent years.
Real GDP growth has reached 3.5 % in 2017 as compared to 2.2 % in 2016.
Speaking at the pre-budget consultation meeting with members of the private sector on the 2019 budget formulation process, PS Camara said the country’s medium term growth rates are expected to rebound to 6-7% per annum, which will primarily be led by strong agricultural performances coupled with buoyancy in the services sector especially tourism.
PS Camara added that the 2019 and medium term budgets will focus on the new National Development Plan objectives in the areas of Agriculture, Tourism, Skills Development, Youth Empowerment and Energy.
”Recent budget executions have shown Governments tendency to channel most of its resources towards financing the recurrent budget, and this is something we are committed to address in the medium term, whereby resources are gradually shifted, from recurrent to Capital Development, where the bulk of poverty related issues are being addressed.
”The government intends to manage our current debt levels in a prudent and sustainable manner by committing to reach a Net Domestic Borrowing level of 1% of GDP. It is only by committing ourselves to this target, we can address our mounting debt levels and free up additional resources that may have been embarked for debt service,” he added.
However, Camara further stated that despite the positive economic outlook for the medium term, the country nevertheless faces some certain challenges key amongst which is the high debt levels incurred by the current government.
”We must strictly adhere to the ceilings by applying fiscal discipline, and only spend on what is absolutely necessary based on the resources provided and refrain from incurring any additional unplanned expenditures”