By Kebba AF Touray
Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Mambury Njie informed legislators that out of US$ 1.8 billion pledged by various development partners at the donor conference, only US$183 million (10 percent of the pledged), has been disbursed so far.
He said this on Friday during the budget speech at the legislative house.
The Finance Minister, Mambury Njie said the total revenue and grants for 2020 is estimated at D24.5 billion.
He said this constitutes 25 percent of GDP and 3.2 percent fall from D25.3 billion budgeted in 2019 constituting 29 percent of GDP.
He said tax revenue is projected to grow in normal terms to D11.6 billion (11.8 percent of GDP) in 2020 compared to D10.4 billion (11.9 percent of GDP) budgeted in 2019.
He said “Non-tax revenue is anticipated to increase to a budget of D2.0 billion in 2020, compared to a budget of D1.5 billion in 2019”.
He further said that Grant inflow is expected to decline during the 2020 fiscal year to D10.8 billion (11 percent of GDP) in 2020 compared to D13.4 (15.3 percent of the GDP) in 2019.
He stated, “In 2020 project grants and budget support are budgeted at D8.1billion and D2.7 billion respectively. Governments’ fiscal deficit is projected to increase slightly from a deficit of D3.5 billion (4 percent of GDP) in 2019, to a budget deficit of D3.9 billion (3.9 percent of GDP) in 2020”.
He said the Gambian economy is expected to grow by 6.0 percent in 2019 compared to an actual real growth of 6.5 percent in 2018, while stating that the decline in growth is as a result of lower than anticipated agricultural productivity.
He said the agricultural sector is to experience a contraction due to poor performance from crops and livestock, which are both anticipated to decline to 6.2 and 10.0 percent in 2019.
He added, “Forestry and fishing is expected to grow by 1.1 percent and 5.9 percent respectively in 2019, Industry anticipated to the strongest growth rate of 21.7 percent in 2019 compared to 2.5 percent in 2018, growth in the service sector is expected to decline to 3.6 percent in 2019 from 9.9 percent recorded a year earlier”.
He also said that total expenditure increased slightly by 1.3 percent from D13.6 billion in the first nine months of 2018 to D13.8 billion in same period 2020, whilst current expenditure increased by 1.5 percent from D7.7 billion (126 percent of tax revenue) in the first nine months of 2018 to D8.9 billion (117 percent of tax revenue) in the same period 2019.
On the National Development Plan the Minister said the progress report found that out of 61 outcomes, 48 percent were found to be on track, 49 percent constrained and only 3 percent registered limited progress.
Regarding taxation, he said, “in the excise regime on tobacco products, we will increase the specific excise tax on cigarettes from D20 per pack to D25 per pack, increase environmental tax on cigarettes from D2.60 per pack in 2019 to D2.93 per pack in 2020, increase the excise tax on other tobacco products from D330 per kilo to D363 per kilo in 2020 and an increase the environmental tax on other tobacco products from D165 per kilo in 2019 to D175 per kilo in 2020”.
He also said food items such as groundnut, rice and nonfood items will remain subdued at lower levels in 2019 and that low oil price with stronger demand for energy as the world economy grows average around 6 percent over the next few years, are likely supported by strong oil imports and greater custom tax revenues from oil imports over the period.