By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s National Assembly is set to commence an extraordinary session starting on Tuesday 27th July 2021 which will see Finance Minister, Hon Mambury Njie request for additional funds from Gambian Parliamentarians.
According to a National Assembly agenda received by Gainako News, on Tuesday 27th July 2021 two bills are expected to be tabled at the National Assembly, namely the Gambia Public Procurement Authority Bill 2020 and the National Assembly Service Bill 2021. The following day the Supplementary Appropriation Bill is expected to be tabled by the Gambia’s Finance Minister rounding up the two-day agenda.
A Supplementary Appropriation Bill is a process that allows the Finance Minister to request additional funds from the National Assembly. Towards the end of 2020, the National Assembly approved a total of D35 Billion. If Gambian Parliamentarians approve the Supplementary then the total expenditure will exceed the D35 Billion approved in late November 2021.
It can be recalled that the Gambia’s National Assembly approved a Supplementary Appropriation Bill last year totalling D2.8 Billion. The Supplementary Appropriation Bill passed on July 22nd 2020 focussed on “covering costs arising from the need to combat the Corona Virus outbreak, as well as other essentials urgent budgetary needs that are directly or indirectly related to the Pandemic.”
Initially, Finance Minister Mambury Njie requested a total Supplementyary of D3.4 Billion Dalasis however, National Assembly members revised the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, down to D2.8 Billion cutting it by D541 Million.
Another matter which involves millions of Dalasis and viewed as a matter of urgency is the issue of Reparations. On 16th July 2021 the Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission announced that the Government will pay a total of D205 Million in Reparations. However, it was also noted that there was a shortfall of D168 Million to be paid by the Gambia Government.
It is expected that the Finance Minister’s Supplementary Budget Appropriation will request for the shortfall for which the Government needs to pay reparations.
Another sum of money that could also make its way into the Supplementary Appropriation Bill is the D32 million which is expected to be paid to the 54 West African Migrants who were killed in the Gambia in 2005.
It must be noted that a Human Rights Watch publication states that in 2009, the “Gambia paid US$500,000 in compensation to Ghana, which gave 10,000 Ghana Cedis (roughly US6,800 at 2009 rates) to each of the approximately 27 victim’s families.