Thursday, June 24, 2021

Separation Of Powers Is The Road To Accountability And Good Governance
The Courts And The National Assembly

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The Constitution gives powers to the Executive, National Assembly and Judiciary.  In terms of the budget, the executive is empowered to propose an annual budget in the form of estimates, but cannot raise funds and expend the money without the approval of the National Assembly.

The Executive first prepares estimates of revenue and expenditure for approval. After approval, the sum approved is enacted as law in the form of an Appropriation Act.

The Executive prepares its own budget, but has no power to approve it.  This is dictated by Section 152 of the Constitution.

Furthermore, the Judiciary prepares its budget without the interference of the Executive, but has no power to approve it.

This is stipulated under Section 144 of the Constitution as follows:

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“The Chief Justice shall submit the annual estimates of expenditure for the Judicature to the President for presentation to the National Assembly in accordance with this Constitution. The President shall cause the estimates to be placed before the National Assembly without amendment, but may attach to them his or her own comments and observations.

(2) The Judicature shall be self-accounting, and the moneys charged on the Consolidated Fund or appropriated by an Act of the National Assembly for the Judicature, shall be paid by the Accountant General to the accounting officer for the Judicature as required by the Chief Justice.”

The National Assembly cannot prepare its budget without passing it through the executive.

In fact, the National Assembly has no power to generate revenue or introduce a Bill for revenue and expenditure purposes.

This is clearly stipulated under Section 100 Subsection (4).

It reads:

“Without prejudice to the power of the National Assembly to make any amendment (whether by the increase or reduction of any tax or charges, or the amount of any payment or withdrawal, or otherwise), the National Assembly shall not give consideration to a Bill that in the opinion of the person presiding makes provision for any of the following purposes –

 (i) the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation;    

(ii) the imposition of any charges on the Consolidated  Revenue Fund or any other public fund of The Gambia or the alteration of any such charge;

(iii)  the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of The Gambia of moneys not charged thereon or any increase in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal; or

(iv) the composition or remission of any debt due to the Government.”

These are the checks and balances and the Supreme Court has the final authority to determine what is or is not constitutional. Foroyaa will examine the decision of the court on the 54 Million Dalasis allocation initiated by National Assembly members after the submission of the estimates for approval and explain it clearly for the readers to understand and take note.

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