GOV’T TO SPEND OVER D900M ON EMBASSIES, CONSULATES IN 2023

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia government has projected D911,561,457 million as expenditure on its embassies and consulates around the world.

According to the breakdowns in the 2023 budget estimates, the money will be expended on salaries, medical services to personnel, school fees, allowances, exchange concession allowance, travel expenses, telecommunication expenses, electricity, water and sewage, rents and rates, purchase of fuel and lubricants, maintenance of vehicles, maintenance of buildings and facilities, maintenance of equipment, stationery, miscellaneous office expenses, hotel accommodation, insurance, bank charges and bank related costs, fees and handling charges, welfare of Gambians, office equipment and furniture and fittings. 

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New embassies

Despite calls for the country to downsize its embassies to save money, the budget estimates indicated that government has included expenses for three new embassies, in Japan, Germany and Sweden.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard last August, the first finance minister of President Adama Barrow, Amadou Sanneh, accused State House of blocking the implementation of the much-appreciated cost-saving vehicle policy that would have trimmed and downsized its foreign embassies.

“We don’t need embassies in all these countries like you have from Sierra Leone, Bissau, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Spain and Brussels. All these are at a very high cost and these were going to be reduced so that the bills would be reasonable. But they recalled the majority of these ambassadors now under this current budget when the movement is also costing millions of dalasis. Why the need for that? Just because you want to maybe satisfy your supporters by putting them in a position at the detriment of the country because all those people would not be able to perform something they have not learned,” Sanneh argued.

According to the 2023 estimates, the money will be distributed on the embassies as follows:

Abuja –D39, 553, 208, Brussel – D62, 576, 550, Riyadh –D31, 353, 633, United States – D40, 034, 897, United Nations –D63, 403, 686, Paris – D64, 604, 958, Bissau –D21, 523, 293, Consulate Jeddah – D22, 060, 816, Morocco – D29, 836, 280, Cuba – D36, 261, 012, Nouakchott – D22, 260, 021, Ethiopia – D36, 746, 359, Madrid – D41, 725, 446, India – D34, 501, 745, Ankara, Turkey – D35, 626, 719, South Africa – D33, 340, 000, China – D43, 149, 768, Doha – D35, 261, 652, Geneva – D55, 055, 063, United Arab Emirates -D35, 411, 834, Russia – D30, 748, 761, High Commission in London – D36, 051, 180, High Commission in Dakar – D35, 193, 029, High Commission  in Freetown – D25, 282, 547, Development Cooperation –D2, 250, 000 in 2023, African Affairs Directorate – D D500, 000, Asian Affairs Directorate – D750, 000, European Directorate – D500, 000 and Middle East Directorate – D500, 000.