By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) has urged lawmakers to reject the 2021 budget estimates, which he said is a daylight robbery and an attack against the country’s economy.
“Once passed by parliament, the regime will have the potential opportunity to spend a hundred million dalasis in each region in 2021 for election purposes,” Mai Fatty said in a write-up shared with The Standard.
This, Fatty added, is perhaps the most self-serving, most heartless, most reckless and irresponsible budget in Gambian history. “I am not an economist but even from a layman’s perspective, this budget makes no sense. It should be rejected outright. D8 billion deficit constitutes 16% of the total debt of the entire 22 years of Yahya Jammeh’s rule, in just one year by this government. An absolute rubbish! Of these, 3 billion is expected to be domestic debts and the rest foreign,” he said.
Fatty continued: “Vital sectors such as agriculture D400 million etc. compared to over D2 billion for their pet projects, shows this budget is custom-made for 2021 elections, and not on national priorities. It is built on perpetuating personal political ambition, and any development variable achieved is merely incidental to that ambition. Over D1 billion for centralised services, together with potentially illicit proceeds from billions of new and on-going infrastructure contracts, will ensure limitless 2021 election campaign funds. What will the Ministry of Finance alone do with the nearly D2 billion budget it allocated itself? They will also control over D1 billion separate centralised services budget. No one gets to supervise how that money would be spent.”
The former Interior Minister further stressed that the government has gone outside of the funding models of the NDP for obvious reasons, and those reasons, he argued, may appear highly dubious.