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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The 2020 budget

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Deputies are currently scrutinizing the 2020 budget estimates presented to the House by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. This is a very crucial part of the work of the National Assembly Members and indeed the House itself as it is what determines what amount of money will be spent on improving the lives of the people.

However, many voices of caution have been raised in the country of late on the issue of this year’s budget. Economists and financial experts in the country have called this year’s budget estimate scandalous because, according to them, it is not a budget that is aimed at lifting the people out of poverty.

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For instance, the budget has allocated funds for six advisers to the president which represents an addition of two as he already has four. This is a pure waste of taxpayers’ money as there are ministers who are supposed to be advising the president which means he does not need other advisers, or at least not as many of them as are being proposed.

Under normal circumstances, the budget should be something that is done in consultation with the citizens so that the government will know what the needs of the people are and not just sit in their offices and decide for the people what amounts will be spent on what.

Most progressive countries have now realized that for a country to move forward there are certain areas that should be given priority. These include education and agriculture. This is in order to lift the masses out of poverty and increase the economic prospects of the nation.

However, in this budget it has been observed that a large amount of money has been allocated to the Office of the President and some other departments which do not have a direct and immediate return of resources to the coffers of the nation. This is a misnomer.

It is high time ordinary Gambians began having their say in what government plans to spend in the course of the financial year. This is the new trend which should be adopted in the country.

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