By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
On the surface, the 2023 Budget approved by the Sixth Legislature and the Draft 2023 Budget submitted by the Minister of Finance appear similar but upon close inspection, some significant changes can be detected. Our comparison of the Draft and Approved 2023 Budget shows an increase of over D3.7 billion in grants in the Approved 2023 Budget.
Every year Gainako publishes a comparison of The Gambia’s Draft Budget laid in Parliament by the Minister of Finance and the Approved Budget passed by Parliament. This exercise highlights the Institutions where Parliamentarians sanctioned cuts and additions.
Our first analysis in this two-part series highlights some of the changes approved by Parliament around total revenues and expenditures with emphasis on grants. In contrast, the second part will highlight changes made to individual Government institutions.
Our comparison shows that Government’s expenditure from its Local Fund has not changed from the Draft to the Approved 2023 Budget. The Government’s Local Fund Expenditure stands at just over D22 Billion, however, the fundamental changes are in the Grants which have increased by over D3.7 billion in the Approved 2023 Budget.
2023 Revenue Projections
Turning our attention to The Gambia’s Revenue plans shows that over D13 billion in Grants has been approved by Parliamentarians in the Approved 2023 Budget. When compared to the Gambia’s Tax collection plans, the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) plans to collect D13.9 billion in 2023. This is 1 billion more than the D12.8 billion collected by GRA in 2022.
As noted earlier the only change observed in revenue projections between the Draft and the Approved 2023 Budget is on Grants. The Budget categorises Grants into two separate criteria namely; foreign governments and international organisations. The Approved 2023 Budget highlights that international organisations will disburse an additional D3.5 billion, while foreign governments will disburse an additional D193 million to The Gambia in 2023.
According to the Finance Minister’s 2023 Budget Speech, “total grants are anticipated to increase from D10.7 billion in 2022 to D14.6 billion in 2023”. Finance Minister Seedy Keita also noted that his institution expects “total grants will increase along the projection period”. Most importantly Minister Keita disclosed that “the 2023 budget support [has] already been discussed with development partners and passed the test for inclusion in the budget”.
This means that the increases observed in the Approved 2023 Budget have already been assessed and agreed upon with development partners. In our quest to identify which institutions have increased budget support and by how much, our reporter compared the Grants section in the Draft and Approved 2023 Budget.
Our comparison shows that the greatest increase is from the International Dev. Association (IDA) – World Bank which added over D2.1 billion to D3.8 billion it already pledged in the Draft 2023 Budget. This increased its total grants to just over D6 billion in the Approved 2023 Budget.
The second highest increase in grants is by the European Investment Bank which has added D500 million in grants. This increase almost doubles the D553 million pledged in the Draft 2023 Budget. The Gambia now anticipates benefiting over D1 billion from the European Investment Bank in 2023.
The third highest increase is from the Saudi Development Fund which topped up almost D393 million on The Gambia’s Budget. This addition increases the Saudi Development Funds’ total grant support from D970 million to D1.36 billion in 2023.
Below is a chart showing all the development partners that have increased their grant support from the amount stated in the Draft 2023 Budget to the Approved 2023 Budget. The figures shown represent increases observed in the Approved 2023 Budget.