By Kebba Secka
Members of the National Assembly on Wednesday 11th December considered and passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill with amendments after it has undergone close scrutiny both at the Select Committee of Supply and the General Assembly. The bill that is adopted in its third reading was tabled by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie. It took the lawmakers three day of heated debate before it was considered and passed. This year’s check and balance functions of the National Assembly aroused positive public reactions as many described it as a move in the right direction in ensuring transparency and accountability. The process took the form of reviewing the budget allocations of individual ministries and government’s departments one after the other with a view to finding out which sum is inappropriately captured and where inadequate explanation of a sum of money is made. In doing so, Minister Njie was called upon to explain especially the isolated millions captured for the Office of President. It was in that process that the amount estimated for the Office of the President was corrected to be six hundred and ninety one million, two hundred and sixty-three thousand, four hundred and sixty nine dalasi (D691,263,469) and the Ministry of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (MOHERST) was corrected from three hundred and twenty four million, sixteen thousand and sixty-six (D324,016,066) to two hundred and sixty million, sixteen thousand and sixty-six (D269,016,066) showing a difference of sixty-four million dalasi (D64,000,000) isolated sum.
In an interview with the Minister of Finance after the bill was passed, Mr Mambury Njie described his feelings as mixed, adding that it has increased his trust and confidence in the National Assembly.
“Well, it is mixed feelings but the bottom line is that it is part of the Checks and Balance of the government. These Checks show that the three arms of government can work together and each performs its functions effectively,” said Minister Njie. He said the trimming of the twenty one billion is for the benefit of the finance sector, adding that a supplementary bill may be brought before deputies in order to be able to pay the millions of dalasis owed to M. A Karafi and Sons. On about the improvement of the budget allocation for the Ministry of Youths and Sport, Njie said 2020 will be a year of pride for youths of the country as thirty percent shares of the gateway will be spent on youth affairs.