By: Kebba AF Touray
Deputies at the National Assembly yesterday November 25th 2019, unanimously agreed to refer the 2020 budget estimates of the Gambia to the respective committees of the National Assembly for effective scrutiny.
As dictated by Standing Order 84, the respective Ministries and Departments will appear before the relevant committees of the Legislature for presentation, scrutiny and consideration of their respective Ministry’s budgets.
Halifa Sallah in moving the motion said Standing Order 53 provides for effective oversights and recalls that the reason why they transformed the Standing Orders was to exercise effective oversight. He said Standing Order 81 was clear on the procedure to be adopted, which was the submission to be made on the Appropriation Bill documents, the presentation after submission and consideration by the National Assembly before going to the Committees; that Standing Order 84 stated that when laid, those parts of the draft of the budget relating to matters or Ministers for which they had responsibility, shall stood committed respectfully, to the relevant Committees, even though some parts of the whole budgetary process was already overtaken by time.
He continued: “This particular provision is not overtaken by time and it is not only urgent, but necessary to ensure that we exercise effective scrutiny. Looking at the preparatory process, it becomes very clear that our Standing Orders has made it possible for us to exercise the type of scrutiny that we want”; that by ensuring that the Committees engage the Ministries, they will gather information from them in order to feed the Finance and other Committees to be able to give a comprehensive report for debates to proceed.
He said the Constitutional provision provided for fourteen days in order to review, consider and adopt the estimates. He disclosed his conviction that if they allocated a day of proper scrutiny, it was going to enable them to carry out the oversight that was necessary, so that ultimately when they approved the estimates, they would have ensured their mandate on effective oversight.
Sallah concluded: “I therefore move a motion that this august body agrees with this provision to adopt a resolution to actually put Standing Order 84 into operation by ensuring that the respective committees take charge of the various allocations in the draft estimates”.
The motion was agreed by the Lawmakers and the Legislative Session on the budget estimates adjourned to Wednesday 27th November 2019 for continuation.