As part of efforts to improve participatory budgeting for effective and efficient utilization of public funds, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, in collaboration with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) organized a constructive dialogue with the private sector to discuss the 2021 budget process with emphasis on policy matters and the medium term macro-economic framework. The session was held on the 3rd June, 2020.
During the discussions, the Private Sector constructively recommended to Government to introduce tax breaks to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the need to compensate losses incurred during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Additional Policy measures were also recommended. These include flexible tax payment plans for the Private Sector, establishment of a Capital Market to improve the buoyancy of the Financial Service Sector and devising a roadmap for post Covid-19 recovery plan in consultation with the Private Sector.
Further on, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs held a budget consultation meeting ahead of the 2021 Budget with Local Councils across the country on Wednesday 24th June 2020. The meeting was organised by the Directorate of Budget in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Regional Governments where concerns of ordinary citizens were presented by Local Councils for consideration in to the 2021 Government Budget. The aim of the dialogue was to ensure that the views of the citizens are incorporated in the 2021 budget, and to stimulate discussions on how stakeholders’ engagements can be strengthened to ensure the budget process is more participatory.
In previous years, The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs would approach participatory budgeting by going on a nationwide tour to all the eight (8) regions and engage Gambians on their needs. However, given the COVID-19 pandemic, the dialogue had to be conducted via a virtual platform where representatives of all eight regions were in attendance along with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Transport, Works & Infrastructure, Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education & Ministry of Health. The key Ministries gave presentations on their strategic plans and feedback was given by the local councils.
As per Constitutional requirement and the Public Financial Act (2014), The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is required to submit a Supplementary Appropriation Bill (SAP) to the National Assembly if the amount appropriated under the Appropriation Act is insufficient or when substantial changes in the economic and social conditions require larger expenditures than the original and revised budget.
Due to the COVID-19 Corona Virus outbreak, the country has been severely impacted both from a social and economic perspectives. In order to mitigate the impact of COVID- 19, as well as address other essential and urgent budgetary needs that are directly and indirectly related to the pandemic, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, on Wednesday, 8th July, tabled a Supplementary estimate to the National Assembly in the tune of D3.38 billion.
The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP), an agreement between the government of The Gambia and the International Development Association was financed through a grant initially amounting to a tune of $121 million and expected to run from 2018 to 2023.
The project has received additional funding of $43 million from the World Bank which funded $41 million out of the initial $121 million.
The additional funding of the $43 million was approved by the Board of World bank (WB) on 29th June 2020 and signed on the 21st July, 2020 at the MoFEA Conference Room, Quadrangle, Banjul, The Gambia.