By Nelson Manneh
The Minister of Finance Mamburay Njie has informed the media that Government has disbursed one hundred and sixty million dalasi in the fight against COVID 19. Finance Minister Njie said this on Friday 24th April 2020, during the daily press briefing of the Covid-19 Task Force at the Ministry of Health in Banjul.
“Just to remind that for the fight against COVID-19, Government has released one hundred and sixty million dalasi from our own local funds of five hundred and twelve million dalasi as at now,’’ he said; that
last week, he reported the disbursement of funds based on the request they had from the Ministry of Health; that this was one hundred and forty-three million dalasi; that as he was reporting to them at that moment, they have released one hundred and sixty million dalasi.
Njie said the balance they have in their books that should be released base on request is three hundred and fifty-two million dalasi.
“The other update I wanted to mention is that last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) amounting to US $21 million dollars. I am pleased to announce that the US $21 million dollars which when converted to dalasi will be approximately about one billion dalasi, has now landed in our accounts in the Gambia and I will be going to the National Assembly to seek for authority for its spending,” he said.
Finance Minister Njie added that he will be going to the National Assembly for a supplementary appropriation, because this was not part of the budget; that this is in line with what the laws say and he has to comply; that at the end of every month, all expenditures will be published on their web-side.
Momodou Lamin Bah, the Accountant General, said in terms of factual expenditure, they have spent the sixty million dalasi and the one hundred million dalasi for procurement that is currently ongoing has not yet been spent.
“The one hundred million dalasi has not been paid out yet. It is after the procurement process, then the one hundred million dalasi will be disbursed but it has already been released to us as per the paymaster, but we have not yet disburse it out,” he said
Bah said the areas in which they have spent the sixty million dalasi include allowances for health workers, travel expenses relating to the Covid-19 Task Force team going across the country; monies that are paid to various health teams across the country; the payment for hotels and accommodation for those under quarantine; specialized technical materials including sanitizers; training that was conducted by the team; food and services for those under quarantine and health workers out in the field. Vehicles such as pickups have been procured to help in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have bought medical and hospital equipment including office equipment. These are the areas in which the sixty million dalasi has been spent,” he said.