By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita, on Monday 14th November 2022 presented the estimated Revenue and Expenditures of the Gambia for the fiscal year 2023 to the National Assembly.
Honourable Keita revealed that the 2023 Budget Estimate has been prepared based on the objectives of continued recovery and building on an inclusive and resilient economy.
“The draft Estimate is anchored on renewed commitment to strengthen domestic resource mobilization to support the provision of quality essential services in agriculture, education, health, and Infrastructure development to promote a more inclusive and resilient growth,” he said.
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He said the new direction of government development policy will support recovery in light of the adverse impact of the Russia-Ukraine War and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; stressing that the macroeconomic framework underpinning the draft Estimate 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 added.
On the fiscal front, he stated that revenue has registered a low outturn. This is mostly as a result of grant disbursements of only 30 percent of the projected yearly outturn of D13.6 billion. The projected disbursement of budget support grants from the European Union of US$23 million and African Development Bank of US$7 million did not materialize. The increase in global oil prices, leading to fuel subsidies to the tune of D1.3 billion as at the end of September 2022, also contributed to the low revenue outturn.
Hon. Keita said, the outturn for Revenue and Grants is projected to reach D29.9 billion by the end of 2022. However, as at the end of September, the actual Outturn for Revenue and Grants stood at D14.4 billion, representing only 48 percent of the projected outturn.
On the External front, he disclosed that the balance of payments continued to deteriorate and being under pressure on the account of the ongoing global shocks. Imports of goods increased by 12.9 percent in the first half of 2022, mainly reflecting an increase in the imports of energy, food items and vehicles. Similarly, Export increased by 23.8% in the first half of 2022. The deterioration in the trade balance resulted in a higher current account deficit of 1.3% of GDP in the first half 2022, relative to a deficit of 0.5 percent of GDP in the corresponding period of 2021.
“Despite the significant impact of the Russia-Ukraine War with disruption in the global supply chain coupled with the lingering effects of COVID-19 has placed on our development trajectory, it is an opportunity for self-reflection and utilization of our unique means to build a resilient economy, and resilient partnerships while interlacing all of these with an adaptive planning model that is agile and also responsive to exogenous shocks, uncertainties and fragile multilateral systems While striving for equilibrium and avoiding dislocations within our fiscal space, the 2023 Budget aims to stimulate economic recovery, “he added.
“The fiscal year 2023 promises to be transformational as the global economic outlook is increasingly uncertain. It will be challenging and despite the gloomy clouds associated with Russia-Ukraine war, our 2023 national budget can place us on the path to becoming a highly resilient and productive economy. To this end and in pursuance to this noble national development agenda, I therefore submit the Estimates of Revenues, Recurrent and Development Expenditures for fiscal year 2023 for consideration and approval by the National Assembly, ” he concluded.