By Mustapha Darboe
A decision by national assembly members to remove funding for May Day Sports could mean that unless they come up with their own money all government departments may not take part in this major sports event for workers. In their final day budget debate, the lawmakers voted to remove funding for all celebrations in the country except the Independence Day, which is celebrated on February 18. Among events that will no longer be supported by government funding is the May Day sports for which government used to budget over D300, 000.
The national assembly members agreed the current state of the economy cannot support such “misplaced priorities”.
The 2018 budget has a cumulative D38 million for celebrations which includes May Day sports, independence celebrations and various international days.
“We will look mainly for the estimates for the independence celebrations and the May Day sports. After 365 days for workers to have one day to walk around with their families, it is motivation for the workforce. I would suggest that you endorse that particular one,” finance minister Amadou Sanneh pleaded.
However NAM Sedia Jatta countered: “We cannot afford to do all these festivities,” as he moved a motion to remove all celebrations, a view most National Assembly members shared.
A ten million dalasi allocation was allowed for the Independence Day celebrations while any funding for the May Day sports and other celebrations was taken out.
The finance minister however agreed with the demand of the lawmakers to increase the budget for the youth ministry with an extra nine million dalasi.
The absence of government ministries and departments, if they could not fend for themselves could cut the size of the number of participating institutions in this event very enjoyed by all workers.