By Makutu Manneh
The total Government Local Expenditure from January to April 2020 amounts to D5.08 billion which is 29% percent more than the same period in 2019 where the expenditure was D3.95 billion.
The Finance Minister on Monday 15th June 2020 tabled the manner in which this expenditure was spent before the National Assembly members.
Mambury Njie told the Assembly that other recurrent expenditure has increased to 1.2 billion from 994 million in 2019.
The recurrent expenditure refers to mainly expenditure on wages, salaries, and supplements, purchase of goods and services and consumption of fixed capital.
He said the recurrent expenditure registers a growth of 22 percent whilst 22% of its approved budget was spent during the period under review.
“Government did allocate an additional D500 million to the Ministry of Health under other recurrent,” he said.
Mr. Njie said this was obtained by reallocating budget votes from various budget entities and channeled towards combating the coronavrius (COVID-19).
He further explained that the size of the reallocation came from travel expenses, training and other non-essential budget line items.
The minister went on to explain more on how the Government Local Expenditure was spent on personnel emolument (PE) where he mentioned that the PE increased from D1.02 billion in 2019 to D1.34 billion in 2020 recording a 31 percent year on year growth.
“Debt service has decreased by 51 percent, from D1.2 billion in April 2019 to D607 in April 2020,” he said to the august assembly.
Mambury also talked about how Capital Development has increased from D153 million in 2019 to D687 million in 2020.
He said this is primarily attributed to the first installment payment made towards the Banjul Rehabilitation Project.
Minister Mambury Njie said the top three spending ministries during the period January-April 2020 are the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education spending D916 million, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure spending D478 million and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare spending D372 million.
He elaborated on the spending of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure saying that the ministry has absorbed 73% of its approved budget as end of April 2020.
Njie said this is because of the payment made towards the Banjul Rehabilitation Project and that payments were also made towards the Laminkoto Passimus road project.
He continued to say that the top spending line items of the ministry are: roads and bridges amounting to D428 million, operating costs to D172 million, Rent and Rates D124 million, Food and Food services 97 million, Travel Expenses 83 million, and the School improvement grant 82 million.
He said the Travel expenses also registered as a major expenditure item despite the recent ban on travel and that the reason why travel expenses recorded an increment is because of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense night allowances that are charged as travel expense.
“Food and Food Services budget line item increased from D50 million in May 2019 to D115 million in May 2020 due to the expansion of the School Feeding Programme under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the feeding provided to the security sector,” the Finance Minister said.