By: Kebba AF Touray
Officials of the Ministry for Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) have told members of the Education Committee of the National Assembly that a balance of fifty million, eight hundred and fifty-two thousand, eight hundred and forty-six Dalasi (D50,852,846) for both first and third terms of the academic year, still remains outstanding.
The MoBSE officials said this on Wednesday, 18 October during their interface with members of the said ccommittee, where they provide them with updates on SIGs and subventions.
During its previous meeting with the Committee, the Ministry raised some issues regarding subventions and whether the SIGs are up to date or are behind time.
Dilating on the subject, the officials of MoBSE informed Members of the Committee that the issues are still not honored by the Ministry of Finance. They reminded Members of the Committee that during third term of last academic year, there was a pending balance, adding that when the Gambia Teacher’s Union threatened to go out on strike, they engaged the Ministry of Finance and seventy-three million Dalasi (D73,000,000) was paid by the aforesaid Ministry .
This, the officials said, covered part of the third term but said at the moment, they still have some outstanding balance of fourteen million Dalasi (D14 million) on SIG for the Third Term.
MoBSE Officials told Members of the Committee that what they requested for the first term was sixty-one million, threehundred and twenty thousand, and seven hundred Dalasi (D61,320,700), for the first term. They reported that they recently received a cash allocation notice and twenty-five million Dalasi (D25 Million) was given against the D61 million that they requested. They added that the fourteen million, five hundred and thirty-two thousand, one hundred and forty-six Dalasi (D14,532,146), is still pending for the third term, noting that the third and first term balances put together is what they would have required in total, but they were rather allocated D25 Million.
“A total balance of the fifty million, eight hundred and fifty-two thousand, eight hundred and forty-six Dalasi (D50,852,846), is the total outstanding balance for both first and third terms,” the officials said; that the reported D25 million was paid this month (October 2023).When asked whether they have reviewed the SIG in terms of the amount they are paying amid the high cost of goods, or whether there is discussion at the level of the cabinet on the issues, the MoBSE officials said they have worked it out and that a cabinet paper has been produced and now is at the level of MoBSE Minister to present it. They said if they are to get what they have requested; it should also go along with the augmentation of the budget.
“Mostly, when we request from Finance, they can only give us what they think could be within the budget and not what we need according to data,” they said.
The SIG, they submitted, is based on enrollment, and that when the Ministry allocate them less than their projections based on enrollment, there is need for them to address the problem with the augmentation of the budget line.The ministry further reported that for now, the budget line needs to be augmented by D9.5 Million to accommodate what they require for the rest of the academic year for the SIG.