The Independent Electoral Commission is experiencing shortfalls in the allocation of resources. Donors are questioning why Gambia needs help to finance its own elections.
The issue of the 54 million dalasi is not what the Court may finally decide on. The National Assembly is the law- making body of the land. It knows its own procedures.
Section 101 Subsection (4) is clear.
(4) 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.”
It is incontrovertible that estimates and appropriation Bill proposing charges emanate from the executive represented by the Minister of Finance. The National Assembly can only amend the proposal, but cannot impose original charges on the executive.
National Assembly members are entitled to what others are entitled to. That should be done without reducing other estimates to add to their own.
It is no surprise that the International Community is raising eyebrows as IEC expresses it shortfalls. The National Assembly members should take note.