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STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS ON GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY-APRIL 2020
The Minister of Finance and Economic affairs informed the National Assembly members on recent developments pertaining to Government Budget Execution as at end April 2020.
Below is the statement of the Minister delivered on 15th June 2020.
“Honourable Speaker, Total Government Local Fund (GLF) expenditure as of end April 2020 reached D5.08 billion, 29 per cent more than the same period last year, when Government expenditure reached D3.95 billion.
Out of the total (GLF) expenditure, 24 per cent was spent on Other Recurrent, 26 per cent on Personnel Emoluments, 24 per cent on Subvention, 12 per cent on Debt Service and 14 per cent on Capital Development.
Other Recurrent expenditure has increased from 994 million in 2019 to 1.2 billion in 2020, registering a growth of 22 per cent, whilst 22% of its approved budget was spent during the period under review. The government did allocate an additional D500 million to the Ministry of Health under Other Recurrent, which was obtained by reallocating budget votes from various budget entities and channelled towards combating the COVID19 pandemic. The bulk of the reallocations came from Travel expenses, Training and other non-essential budget line items.
As at end April 2020, Personnel Emolument (PE) increased from D1.02 billion in 2019 to D 1.34 billion in 2020, recording a 31 per cent year on year growth.
Debt Service has decreased by 51 per cent, from D1.2 billion in April 2019 to D607 million in April 2020.
Meanwhile, Capital Development has increased by 348 per cent relative to last year, from D153 million in 2019 to D687 million in 2020. This is primarily attributed to the first instalment payment made towards the Banjul Rehabilitation Project.
The top three spending Ministries during the period under review are: Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (D916 million), Ministry of Works and Infrastructure (D478 million), and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (D372 million)
In terms of absorption rates, the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has absorbed 73% of its approved budget as of the end of April 2020. This is due to the payment made towards the Banjul Rehabilitation Project. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs budget absorption rate did reach 36%, mainly due to the increased subvention given to its satellite agencies.
The top spending budget line items are; Roads and Bridges (D428 million), Operating Costs (D172 million), ‘Rents and Rates (D124 million), Food and ·Food Services (97 million), Travel Expenses (D83 million), and the School Improvement Grant (D82 million).
D436 million was approved for the Roads and Bridges budget line, and as at end April 2020, D428 million was absorbed, representing a 98 per cent absorption rate. In addition to payments being made towards the Banjul Rehabilitation Project, payments were also made towards the Laminkoto-Passimus road project.
Food and Food Services budget line item increased from D50 million in May 2019 to D 115 million in May 2020 due to the expansion of the School Feeding Programme under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, and the feeding provided to the security sector.
Travel expenses also registered as a major expenditure item despite the recent ban on travel. One of the reasons why travel expenses recorded an increment when compared to the same period last year is due to the fact that the security sector (Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence) night/trekking allowance is currently being charged as Travel expense, unlike previous years, when it was classified as Allowances.
Given recent developments pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs intends to reprioritize the objectives of the 2020 budget and place additional emphasis on combating this pandemic by availing more resources to critical sectors, such as Health.
We will nonetheless take all necessary steps to ascertain budget execution is conducted in a prudent and disciplined manner and avoid major fiscal slippages from now until the end of 2020”.