International IDEA, funded by the European Union, held a three-day pre-budget analysis training for National Assembly Members and staff from the 18th to 20th November 2023 at Bakadaji Hotel. The activity aimed to empower and enhance NAM’s capacities to review and scrutinize the 2024 draft estimates and expenditures of The Gambia Government.
Following the Honorable Minister of Finance’s presentation of the 2024 budget on 17 November, the pre-budget training sought to lead the National Assembly in the review of the estimates to ensure that the submitted budget is in line with budget reform policies such as the medium-term expenditure analysis framework and the programme-based budgeting.
Jainaba Faye, the Head of the International IDEA Country Office, stressed the significance of the training with a primary objective to enhance the oversight function of the National Assembly and its Staff in budget matters.
She added that the ultimate aim of the training was to contribute to the economy’s growth, fostering increased national wealth and improved livelihoods.
She went further to convey her office’s sincere appreciation to the European Union and the National Assembly for their invaluable support in fostering democratic processes and good governance. Additionally, she reiterated the International IDEAS’s unwavering commitment to assisting the Gambia on its democratic drive.
Mr. Raphaël Brigandi, the Political Officer and Chargé d’affaires of the European Union said, “One of the components of our new joint EU-International IDEA CODE project is to provide resources and expertise to further foster the capacities of the National Assembly. When it comes to the budget, the share of public spending per sector reflects the importance of all respective sectors in a State’s political agenda, in a State’s actual political priorities. In that sense, the budget is the ultimate strategic tool of a State, which is why its examination by the elected members of the Parliament is so instrumental.”
He echoed the EU’s dedication to assisting the Gambia on its democratic journey while acknowledging and applauding the International IDEA for the achievement registered over the years in fostering democracy and good governance.
One of the participants, Honourable Billay G. Tunkara, the Majority Leader of the National Assembly, underscored the sessions’ impact in enhancing participants’ comprehension of the budget. He highlighted its effectiveness in facilitating a detailed understanding of budget components, including recurrent and development aspects.
“The training prepares us to make informed decisions, particularly when considering our limited resources in the face of various demands of the Ministries. This newfound knowledge will empower us to formulate strategies to reduce the government’s budget deficit, particularly by addressing recurrent expenditure,” he noted.
Honorable Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the Speaker of the National Assembly, said, “The training has to scrutinise the budget to see to what extent it can deliver on the development challenges of our times. We have to see how it can help put a lasting dent in poverty; how it will contribute towards creating opportunities for our youths and make them feel that the ‘back way’ is not an option,” he said.
He concluded by expressing sincere gratitude to International IDEA and the European Union for consistently standing by the legislative body, offering support at every moment to enhance the capabilities of both Honorable Members and staff of the National Assembly.