Saturday, October 24, 2020

Finance Minister: Government Committs D224 million for additional Food Assistance to the Most Vulnerable

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Finance Minister, Mamburay Njie told lawmakers on Wednesday that the government is working with the World Bank and the World Food Program, to provide additional food assistance to a total of 733 thousand most vulnerable people.

This project, he said, is estimated at D337million of which the Gambia government, has committed to contribute D224 million.

Minister Njie disclosed this on Wednesday 8th July 2020, while tabling the Supplementary Appropriation budget to the lawmakers, for consideration and approval.

He said the hospitality industry is one of the most affected sectors by COVID-19, as the tourism sector has come to total halt, due to the global travel restrictions, and the government intends to assist the tourism industry in settling some of the liabilities they owed to the Gambia Tourism Board and Municipalities to the tune of D25.6 million dalasi.

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He said: “With the approval of this supplementary estimate request, government intends to settle these fees on behalf of the Tourism Industry. Furthermore, we have also factored an additional D100 million on this Supplementary Appropriation Bill, geared towards a post COVID-19 recovery plan for the Tourism Sector.”

He said being cognizant of the fact that COVID-19 is affecting certain Public Enterprises such as GCAA, GIA, GFS, the government has proposed a bailout of D121 million, as the affected PEs are currently financially constrained and need urgent assistance, to sustain their operations.

“In order to strengthen Central Bank’s Balance Sheet, we have factored D180 million to recapitalize the Bank. This will enhance the operational independence of the Central Bank, capable of attaining price stability without resorting to financial repression”, said Minister Njie.

He also said that the Supplementary Appropriation request also factored D435 million, to cater for the bailing out of the Gambia Groundnut Corporation(GCC), to settle their upcoming payment, due to the International Trade Finance Corporation of the Islamic Development Bank.

He said, “Failure of the Gambia to settle this payment of the ITFC will have a profound effect on all IsDB financed projects in this county, including Agricultural projects, as all disbursements from the IsDB will be suspended”.

He said that the recent fire outbreaks at the Basse and Brikama markets have wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of individuals, whose primary source of income depended on the functioning of these markets, adding the government have considered a total of D50 million (D40 million for Basse and D10 million for Brikama)for the rehabilitation of these markets.

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