By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita, on Friday presented the government’s budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year, highlighting yet intense levels of foreign borrowing to meet expenditure amid financial imbalances, with gross deficit expected to reach 2.55 percent of GDP.
The 2024 budget totals D42, 077, 737, 144 (forty-two billion, seventy-seven million, seven hundred and thirty-four thousand, one hundred and forty-four dalasi). Out of this, Government’s Local Fund GLF is estimated to reach D29,221,188,443, grants estimated at D9,001, 347,942 and loans estimated at D3,855,200,759.
Total financing for the budget deficit will attract D4.4 billion and according to Minister Keita, the deficit will be financed mainly from domestic financing such as treasury bills, government securities and borrowing from international partners.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is projected to provide a loan of D1,454,000,000, to be dedicated for funding of the UTG Faraba campus project and OIC Bertil Harding Highway. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is projected to give a loan of D1,294,750,000 to fund the UTG Faraba Campus, OIC Bertil Harding Highway, the Rice Value Chain project and the Soil Ruminant project.
The Kuwaiti Fund for Economic Development (KFAED) is expected to provide D284,000,000 in loans to fund Basic Education Management and another loan of D184,000,000 to fund Secondary Education Management. The Saudi Fund for Development (SDF) is also estimated to provide D638,450,759 to be used for funding of OIC urban roads.
On treasury bills and government securities an estimated D3,271,000 has been projected to be pocketed by the state in 2024.
The 2024 budget will also come with increases in taxes in other sectors of the economy with GRA customs and excises estimated to increase from overall D5,298,808,013 in 2023 to D8,060,341,855 in 2024.
Domestic revenue is estimated to increase from D17,251,648 in 2023, to D22,751,487 in 2024. This will see an increase in tax revenue from D13,923,014 in 2023 to D17,242,310 in 2024.
There is expected to be an overall increase in personal income tax from D1,726,054 in 2023 to D1,931,466 in 2024. Income tax payable by corporations and other enterprises is estimated to increase from D3,049,162 in 2023 to D3,263,099. Payroll tax is estimated to increase from D57,516 in 2023 to D65,452 in 2024, and capital gain taxes are also expected to increase from D203,935 in 2023 to D232,072.
Taxes on goods and services are also estimated to rise from D5,414,546 in 2023 to D6,161,575. This will see increases in domestic VATs from D1,984,000 in 2023 to D2,257,732 in 2024 and import tax on oil from D582,400 in 2023 to D662,754 in 2024. The import tax on non oil items inclusive VAT is estimated to increase from D1,702,479 in 2023 to D1,937,370.
Environmental tax on imports is also estimated to increase overall from D24,964 in 2023 to D28,408 in 2024 and environmental tax on used cars from D9,756 in 2023 to D11,102 in 2024 while the overall tax payable solely by business is estimated to increase from D62,637, in 2023 to D71,279 in 2024.
Meanwhile non-tax revenue is estimated to increase D2,968,634 in 2023 to D5,509,178 in 2024.
GRA tax on use of goods and services is estimated to increase from D340,095,337 in 2023 to D493,512,396 in 2024. This will see increased collection in road tax, motor vehicle licences, firearms and games licences and GSM levy.
As part of estimated expenditures, the government proposes to expend D7,406,268 on salaries and wages as opposed to D6,086,204 approved in the 2023 budget.
For embassy management and expenditure on foreign missions, the government proposes to spend D1,266,990,447 in 2024 on 27 missions in the following countries; UK, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Belgium, Saudi Arabia-Riyadh, United States, United Nations, France, Guinea Bissau, Saudi Arabia Jeddah, Morocco, Cuba, Mauritania, Ethiopia, India, Spain, Turkey, South Africa, China, Russia, Qatar, UAE, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden and Germany.
This represents a slight increase in the embassy’s budget with D947,761,357 approved in 2023.
Overall debt service interest payments are projected to reach D7.49 billion from D2.19 billion in 2023, representing an increase of 76 percent. This is a result of a large increase in the monetary policy rate of 17% which translates to higher interest payments on the 30-year bond and other domestic debts.
The ministry of basic education gets the highest estimates with D4,184,845,999 appropriated, followed by the ministry of works at D2,637,133,176, ministry of health at D2,323,916,292 and the ministry of finance appropriated at D2,053,669,985, ministry of foreign affairs at D1,797,495,477, the ministry of interior at D1,588,400,968, ministry of Defense D992,922,810 and the Office of the President at D872,621,251 and Ministry of agriculture appropriated D844,809,675.
On pensions and gratuities D515,000,000. The ministry of youths budget estimates stands at D122,395,144.
Meanwhile, the Office of the First Lady is also budgeted for in the estimates with salaries of its permanent secretary and deputy permanent secretary pegged at D519,958. The budget for the official residence of the Vice President is estimated at D1,014,817 compared to D854,667 approved in 2023.