By Binta Jaiteh
During the laying of the budget for 2023, Honourable Seedy Keita, Minister of Finance and Economics Affairs told the lawmakers that the 2023 budget estimate was prepared based on the objectives of continued recovery and building on an inclusive and resilient economy.
Adding that to this end, the draft Estimate is anchored on a renewed commitment to strengthening domestic resource mobilization to support the provision of quality essential services in agriculture, education, health, and Infrastructure development to promote more inclusive and resilient growth.
According to him, the Russia-Ukraine war has negatively impacted growth prospects resulting in rising global commodity prices, falling remittances, a fall in international tax revenues, and an increase in financing pressures – as these difficult circumstances unfold.
“The Government revised the 2022 approved budget in July to reflect the shocks in the macroeconomic conditions during the year, this new direction of government development policy will support recovery in the light of the adverse impact of the Russia-Ukraine War and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” he noted
The macroeconomic framework underpinning the draft Estimates is anchored on recovery in agriculture, sustained growth in construction services, and a broadly positive outlook in the tourism sector. The 2023 Budget is prepared with minimal new revenue measures to give respite to the private sector following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and the devastating impact of the Russia- Ukraine war that affected businesses across the country, he explained.
However, he said more emphasis will be placed on improving compliance in tax administration to ensure that what is lawfully due to the government is collected and on time. The intention is to maximize efficiency in revenue collections by the commissioning of a web-based ASYCUDA WORLD, the ongoing update of the GAMTAXNET, and the preparation for the deployment of an Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS).
Meanwhile, he went further that it is against this backdrop, that the 2023 budget is designed to effectively respond and serve as both a mitigation and adaptation tool with emphasis on strengthening resilience towards the current adverse effects of the global economy.
This will also be expected to consolidate “our gains achieved in recovering from the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.”
He concluded that the preliminary data estimates Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2022 at 4.5 percent. This is an expansion from a rate of 4.3 percent in 2021 when recovery from the pandemic was underway.