By Omar Bah
The Gambia Government is currently reviewing its vehicle policy that was intended to reduce its fleet of vehicles, Finance minister Mambury Njie has told journalists yesterday.
The vehicle policy was initiated by erstwhile Finance minister Amadou Sanneh and was presented to lawmakers who approved it. Its intent was to reduce the large fleet of government vehicles and lay off drivers.
The policy was expected to save the government up to D300 million, but Minister Njie said the policy has impeded by technical hiccups and is currently being reviewed.
“As at now we have been cutting our clothes according to our size as a government. If the revenue increases and we feel we can afford more, we will do more.
Look at the governance issues that we have been confronted with including funding of the commissions, which were never budgeted for,” he said at a presser jointly organised with the IMF deputy director.
He said the frequency at which government vehicles were being used has significantly gone down. “However, that does not mean we are comfortable with the situation as it is; we are going to do more austerity measures.”
“With respect to salary increase, it is being financed through our own domestic resource mobilisation,” he added.
Minister Njie said his ministry is going through a legal route to make sure that they do the right thing. “You cannot just take an expensive car over night and go and sell it. We are looking at the Janneh Commission’s report to make sure that whatever we are doing we are taking the legal route.”
The Finance minister also confirmed that the country’s current debt to GDP ratio which was once 129%, now stands at 88%.
“We are making efforts and hope it will go further down, because it is in our interest to make sure that the debt to GDP ratio goes further down,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy director of International Monetary Fund, Tao Zhang said The Gambia’s economy is steadily recovering.
“The most important thing is that we congratulate the authorities and the people of The Gambia on achievements registered over the past two years. We also encourage them to continue on the path leading to prosperity down the road,” he said.