The Speaker of the National Assembly has underscored the importance of Pre-Budget Analysis Retreat in development planning and financial governance, as the budget is often referred to as the second most important document of any country, after the constitution.
Budget1Addressing a two-day Pre-Budget Analysis Retreat organised by the National Assembly Service at a hotel in Banjul yesterday, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang stated that as the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs lays the Annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditures of the Government of the Republic of The Gambia for the Fiscal year 2016 at the National Assembly for consideration and approval, it is indeed necessary for National Assembly Members to be sensitised on the budget.
The theme for the year’s retreat is; “Strengthening Parliamentary Oversight on Public Expenditure to enhance Accountability”.
Hon. Bojang noted that this would therefore address budget shortfalls and give due consideration to the priority sectors and the cross-cutting issues relating to Public Finance Management so as to achieve the objectives of PAGE, Visions 2016, 2020, 2025 and the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him, the budget gives an indication of the government’s commitments to its priorities. Thus, he said, the document (budget) should be properly scrutinised to reflect the set targets of government in reducing poverty.
“As the representatives of the people, the National Assembly wishes to ensure that effective and efficient public expenditure management, good governance, accountability and parliamentary oversight are essential ingredients that strengthen prudent Public Finance Management,” he stated.
The Speaker of the Gambia’s National Assembly called on members to work collectively as a team in order to achieve these lofty goals and targets, particularly the social priorities of Education, Health and Agriculture among others.
Hon. Bojang acknowledged the tremendous support given to the National Assembly by the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa and his government over the years.
For his part, Hon. Sulayman Samba, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service opined that government prepares the budget to fulfil certain objectives, which are the direct outcome of its economic, social and political policies.
He highlighted some of the important objectives of the budget such as: allocation of resources, reducing inequalities in income and wealth, economic stability, management of public enterprises, economic growth, and reducing regional disparities.
He reiterated that under the leadership of President Jammeh, the government has since 1994 been pursuing prudent fiscal policies which have resulted in the overall steady growth of the economy.
Therefore, he went on, it is their collective responsibility, as members of the National Assembly to help the Executive arm of the government to explore more areas of revenue generation and at the same time ensure rational and judicious use of scarce budget resources.
In this regard, he expressed hope that the Ministry of Finance would positively consider the suggestions and recommendations that would emerge from this pre-budget analysis retreat.