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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Maintain financial discipline for growth

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Expectedly, some countries have adopted zero-tolerance for malpractice by sanctioning officials who flout financial management codes. This also true of The Gambia where there is growing demand for the government to ensure greater discipline in the management of the country’s finances.  Given our limited resources, it is a key value that should keep the government working.

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Arguably, corruption and fiscal indiscipline have proved difficult to separate. The former continues to be rife in our public sector. People are working to enrich themselves owning millions of dalasis illegally. The government’s role in defeating this trend is a critical one and it must play it out diligently. Chances are that, if we deal with corruption, every sector of the Gambian economy will benefit.


It will not be out of place to mention that the government remains focused to win the war against corruption and other vices that threaten the maintenance of financial discipline. No country is a stranger to corruption and it is very hard to rout out. And according to the auditor general report which was presented to lawmakers comprising the public accounts and public enterprises committee of the National Assembly recently, our public institutions seem to be hit hardest by the phenomenon. 


But even as we brace up to foster greater discipline in the management of public finances, the problematic of financial indiscipline in the public sector needs to be analysed in terms of a nest of principal-agent relationships, between legislature and executive, political executive and bureaucratic executive, Ministry of Finance and other spending arms of government. Of course, there are other public institutions that should not be left out of the analysis. 


It is only through this that we can effectively maintain financial discipline for growth. The national anti-corruption commission once it starts operations is expected to carve out a niche for itself in going after individuals who are bent on pillaging the nation’s financial resources. Its role will be quite critical when it comes to stealing of public funds and other forms of corrupt practices. The understanding that financial discipline is an imperative to guarantee economic growth is what makes it non-negotiable. 


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