By Lamin M. Ceesay
During their deliberation on the 2024 budget, the National Assembly Member for Kiang West frowned at the way and manner the country depends on grants and loans saying it is not sustainable for the country to depend its development on loads and grants.
“If you look at our budget from 2022, and 2023 coming down to now, our budget is not building an economy for us. Just look at these statistics, the total development budget as per 2024 projection both from GLF and from grants and loans. This constitutes 40. 16 percent of our development budget and our country is committing only 13. 83 percent of this total. Less than half of our development is what we want to and we can do. And we expect the rest to be done through grants and loans. this is not sustainable. the development of our country cannot be 75 percent anchored on loans and grants”, he said. The member asked the minister for Finance and Economic Affairs to inform the members about the amount of projected grants in 2023 that were realized.
He said the total grants for 2023 as per the estimates was sixteen billion, three hundred and twenty-five million eight hundred and three thousand dalasis.
“How much was realized from this? We are in the 11th month of the year. And the total grant projection for 2024 is 12 billion, for the realization when it comes to 2023 should be able to inform us to make a decision as far as grant is concerned in 2024. We should be able to know this”, the member further asked.
He said during the revision of the revised budget in 2022 they were told that one of the reasons for revising the budget was that of the non-realization of international commitment. He added that those commitments were not realized as a result the budget has been reversed.
“So, the major development of the country cannot be anchored on this. This budget we are looking at from 2022 to 23 is not building an economy for us. Over 80 percent of our budget is going into salaries and operations. We are committing only 13 percent of our GLF into development. And if you look at some of our allocations like the ministry of fisheries and water resources there has been an allocation of 10 million dalasis for the drilling boreholes in the needy communities. Some of the communities are still crying for water. 57 to 58 years after independence our people are still crying for water. Our budget still cannot take care of that for us and we say we are developing as a country,” he said.
He said this is not possible and unacceptable to see that 10 million was allocated to the Ministry of Fisheries in 2023 and the money was only disbursed 2 weeks ago and only 3.6 million was disbursed. He asked the minister of finance to tell them what was responsible for the delay in disbursing the money.