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On Friday 6th December 2019, Gambia’s Finance Minister, Hon. Mambury Njie read out the 2020 Budget Speech and tabled a revised Budget Estimate at the National Assembly which proposed to cut over 1.6 Billion Dalasis from the initial 22.9 Billion Dalasis Budget Estimate which he tabled only two weeks earlier on 18th November this year.
The total cuts from all Government sectors total 1.9 Billion Dalasis, however, 301 Million Dalasis has been re-allocated to five Government Ministries. When the reallocation and total cuts are considered, the proposed cuts by the Finance Minister total just over 1.6 Billion Dalasis.
Only five Ministries have benefited from the 301 Million Dalasis reallocated, namely; Ministry of Health (109 Million), Ministry of Agriculture (93 Million), Ministry of Higher Education (62 Million), the National Assembly (35 Million) and a negligible increment for the Ministry of Justice (150 Thousand).
This bring the most recent Estimate on Government Expenditure tabled by the Minister down to 21.3 Billion Dalasis as opposed to 22.9 Billion tabled in November. The chart below depicts how the 301 Million Dalasis has been distributed among Government sectors.
National Debt Service from 2018
The revised Draft Appropriation tabled by the Finance Minister on Friday shows that his biggest cut is from the National Debt Service which has been reduced from 9.4 Billion Dalasis to 7.7 Billion Dalasis. When compared to previous years, 2020 National Debt Service almost doubles 2019 and 2018 which stood at 4.7 Billion and 4.3 Billion Dalasis respectively.
According to the Finance Minister’s 2020 Budget Speech “the stock of public debt in the first three quarters of 2019 stood at D71.3 billion (81.5 percent of the GDP) compared to D65.9 billion (82.6 percent of the GDP) in the same period in 2018. Of the total public debt stock in 2019, domestic debt accounts for D32.9 billion (37.6 percent of the GDP) whilst external debt constitutes D38.4 billion (43.8 percent of the GDP) of the stock. Over the period under review, the stock of both domestic debt decreased by 5 .2 percent while external debt increased by 23 percent.”
Top 5 & Lowest 5 Sector Cuts
Only three sectors were spared from cuts by the Finance Minister and these are; the Public Service Commission, Pension and Gratuities, and Centralized Services. After the huge cuts in the National Debt Service the four Sectors which received the highest cuts are; Audit Office, Independent Electoral Commission, Office of the President and the Judiciary.
Looking at the five sectors with the lowest cuts highlights that the Ministry of Finance proposed to cut only 1.5 Million Dalasis from its own Budget Estimate (Ministry of Finance Budget Entry), ranking it as joint third least cut Sector alongside the Ministry of Interior.
The table below shows the 2020 Budget Estimates submitted first on November 18th and a revised allocation submitted on December 6th this year. The difference shows how the Finance Minister has made cuts on almost all sectors.