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Sunday, October 1, 2023

The urgency of fiscal discipline: A crucial imperative for The Gambia


In The Gambia, we are drowning in debt and as accentuated by the unholy furore generated by the purchase of expensive SUVs for the National Assembly Members, we are recklessly spending money we don’t have. We are a poor country and poor countries survive and ultimately thrive by prioritising their needs over their wants. And we are not doing that.

What we need in this country is fiscal discipline as the cornerstone of our economic stability and growth. In a highly indebted and distressed economy like ours, The Gambia, it is imperative to prioritise sound financial management and prudent fiscal policies.

Fiscal discipline is a vital ingredient for achieving economic stability and fostering sustainable development. By adhering to responsible budgetary practices, The Gambia can ensure that public spending is aligned with available resources, reducing the risk of excessive debt and fiscal imbalances. Prudent fiscal management creates an environment conducive to economic growth, enabling the government to allocate resources efficiently, invest in critical infrastructure, and deliver essential public services. This stability attracts foreign investment, boosts business confidence, and nurtures a favourable economic climate that encourages private sector development.

By cutting our coat according to our cloth and maintaining fiscal restraint, The Gambia can allocate funds to social safety nets, education, healthcare, and other vital sectors that directly impact the lives of our citizens. Prudent management of public finances ensures that resources are directed toward poverty alleviation programmes, fostering inclusivity and reducing disparities. By investing in human capital and social infrastructure, the government can empower our people, uplift communities, and create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty. So that at the end of the day, no Gambian goes to bed hungry, sleeps without a roof over his or her head or dies from the want of proper healthcare.

Fiscal discipline would enhance our country’s attractiveness as an investment destination. A well-managed fiscal policy signals stability, reduces uncertainty, and instills confidence in domestic and foreign investors. This confidence, in turn, leads to increased investments, job creation, and economic growth. By maintaining low inflation, controlling public debt, and demonstrating commitment to fiscal discipline, The Gambia can create an environment that nurtures sustainable economic growth and provides opportunities for all its citizens.

Fiscal discipline would also enable long-term planning and ensure fiscal sustainability. By avoiding excessive borrowing and profligate spending, The Gambia can protect future generations from the burden of unsustainable debt. It would allow the government to save and invest in critical areas such as infrastructure, education, and research and development, laying the foundation for a prosperous future. By prioritising fiscal discipline, The Gambia can safeguard macroeconomic stability, buffer against external shocks, and be better prepared to address future challenges.

The road to fiscal discipline may require tough decisions and sacrifices on the part of all Gambians and the country’s residents, but the rewards are manifold. It is high time for The Gambia to prioritise fiscal discipline and steer the nation towards a path of prosperity and inclusive growth.

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