By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita, has told the visiting delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission that the government of the Gambia is committed to the fight against corruption.
Mr. Keita said this on Wednesday 11th January 2023, when the IMF Mission team of public finance, macro-economic and legal experts led by Olivier Basdevant, paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. The purpose of the visit was to present the mission’s agenda to the Minister, which is to conduct governance diagnostics for the government, to be coordinated by the Ministry.
The activities of the team will seek to identify governance vulnerabilities and possible options to address them, and they will look at issues of public finance management, revenue administration, anti-corruption and rule of law, from an economic perspective with findings expected to last for two weeks beginning 10th January 2023.
In welcoming the team, Minister Keita assured them of his ministry and government’s unflinching support toward the success of their mission.
“Government is committed to fight corruption, a promise the president has repeatedly made,” he told the visiting IMF team. He said the country enjoys a vibrant democracy with freedom of speech, leading to an additional responsibility on the government to ensure transparency and public accountability for improved revenue mobilization.
He expressed appreciation to the team for the willingness and desire to work with the government and promised government’s compliance with the mission’s findings and to have them published for the benefit of the public.
On his part, the IMF Mission Chief Olivier Basdevant, acknowledged government’s effort to advance many reforms, and noted that part of their mission is to help them design a comprehensive approach, and a strategy with a vision towards addressing governance vulnerabilities, with the provision of specific recommendations.
“For democracy to effectively work, there needs to be solid public institutions that are transparent and accountable,” he said.
Momodou Juldeh Barry, the IMF resident representative in The Gambia said an anti-corruption law is important as per the mission’s objectives, and said governance diagnostics can be very helpful in the day-to-day operations of a government. He indicated that the mission is coordinating participation with other donor partners such as the World Bank, European Commission, UN Agencies in the country, Africa Development Bank, US Embassy, British Commonwealth, etc.
The IMF team to the Minister’s office comprised the following expert personalities: Olivier Basdevant as mission chief; Sybi Hida, PFM expert; Thabo Letjama, revenue administration expert; Riaan van Greuning, financial safeguards expert; Aldona Jociene, banking supervision expert; Gomiluk Otokwala, rule of law expert; Camilo Enciso, an anti-corruption expert; and Indulekha Thomas, an anti-money laundering expert.