By Tabora Bojang
The 2024 budget includes a proposal to spend D30 million on the meet-the-people tour of the president representing an increase of D20 million from last year’s approved budget of D10 million for the tour.
The overall 2024 budget estimates totals D42, 077, 737, 144 composed of government local fund, grants and loans.
Finance Minister Seedy Keita presented these estimates covering proposed government expenditures for 2024 last week with lawmakers expected to scrutinise, consider and approve it in the coming weeks.
According to the breakdown of the estimates for the office of the president, D30 million is proposed to be expended for next year’s provincial visits out of over D700 million estimated for the OP.
The 1997 Constitution empowers the president to embark on a nationwide tour to engage citizens on government’s programs, policies and priorities as well as hear from the people.
But critics said it has long been a subject of abuse and partisan politics by the incumbent.
Budget for the president’s tour has always sparked controversy among NAMs during consideration stages of the estimates as it was sliced on most occasions.
The 2024 budget estimates also proposed a fixed salary of D2,483,540 for the president’s special advisers and D1,053,001 as fixed for deputy presidential advisers.