Hon. Lamin Ceesay, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Kiang West Constituency has described the 2023 estimated budget as “unrealistic.”
“The unrealistic nature of this year’s budget is very clear looking at the low revenue collected in 2022 by GRA, which has actually given us an outturn of only 56% in nine months of 2022. Given that that we experience and record low revenue, what is the reason of increasing the budget from D31 billion to D35 billion,” he queried?
Hon. Ceesay explained that there are new changes with respect to this situation; the low revenue collected in 2022 and non realisation of the international commitments – meaning there will be another supplementary appropriation bill in 2023. He thus advised that there is a need to look at the budget carefully to ensure that the budget is realistic.
He also suggested that GRA should not only focus on auditing expenditure but also focus on auditing revenues collected so they could establish the amount of revenue they can collect in a year.
“All agencies responsible for collecting revenues in the country need to be audited for us to establish the amount of revenue we can collect a year. Once that is done, it will inform our budget very well,” he said.
He further stated that the country should be able to stop physical cash collection of public funds in government. “Let’s try to ensure we have a e-banking policy that GRA is coming with to make sure that the funds that are due to this country are being accounted for and get to their rightful places. This will help the ministry to give us a realistic budget so we can run away from revising budgets,” he further suggested. He argued that “if GRA projected that they can produce a certain amount in a year and went nine months then realise they can’t produce that; then something is wrong somewhere that has to be looked at critically.”
Hon Ceesay noted that The Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources should be allocated enough funds to tackle natural issues the country faces.
“Looking at their budget their allocation is only D10 million. Sadly, if you move to certain part of the country people drink from open wells, others move from one community to another to access water for their daily needs.”
“Therefore we should make sure we have an allocation that will abolish drinking from open wells. The Fisheries ministry and Water Resources should be allocated enough funds so that they can come with strategic plans that can solve water problems in the country for a healthy Gambia.”
He thanked the Finance Ministry for the budget allocated to the Kiang West project and also urged it to be fast tracked.