Africa-Press – Gambia. The minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Mambury Njie during his budget speech recently told lawmakers that the government spent more this year mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Total expenditure increased by 13 percent from D14.5 billion (16 percent of GDP) in the first nine months of 2019 to D16.4 billion (17 percent of GDP) in the same period in 2020.
By this increment, the government spent little less than two billion dalasis.
Although the total expenditure as well as other components of expenditure has increased, the total expenditure is said to have declined.
The Finance minister said: “While other components of expenditure registered increases, capital expenditure declined by 17 percent from D5.3 billion to D4.4 billion between the two review periods.
“This is mainly due to a decline in the disbursement of the externally financed capital expenditure in 2020,” the minister said.
The financial expert said there has been an increase of 30 per cent in expenditure on revenue collected from tax this year compared to 2019.
“Current expenditure increased by 30 percent from D9.2 billion (102 percent of tax revenue) in the first nine months of 2019, to D12 billion (116 percent of tax revenue) in the same period in 2020.
“Personnel emoluments increased marginally by 1 percent to D2.9 billion in the first 9 months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.”
Mambury Njie blamed charges, interest payments and most notably Covid-19.
“The bulk of the increase in current expenditure emanates from other charges, which recorded an increase of 60 percent from D4.1 billion in the first nine months of 2019 to D6.5 billion in the same period of 2020.”
“This significant increase is as a result of COVID-related expenditure (food support, stimulus package, health, etc).
“Interest payments also increased from D2.2 billion to D2.5 billion between the first nine months of both periods. This 13 percent increase was due to the external debt restructuring secured with external creditors.”