The Gambian Finance Minister reveals that the Gambian economy is expected to grow at 6.6% in 2018, which is 2 percentage points higher than the growth registered in 2017.
The convening of the cabinet session was part of the 2019 budget preparation process to prepare cabinet ministers for, what will likely be, the introduction of stringent belt tightening measures designed to lift the economy from its anemic state.
The Finance Minister stated intention, according to the official release, is to instill the ever illusive fiscal that has been promised to our development partners over the years with little success. As part of the new austerity policy, a temporary freeze has been placed on recruitment into the civil service “unless extremely necessary”.
We particularly welcome the rationalization of Gambia’s representation abroad. We have too many missions and embassies in far-flung countries that must be downgraded or closed. In fact, this should have been implemented by the Jammeh regime back in 2016 as part of the Staff Monitored Program. We hope that this time, the government will garner enough courage to bite the bullet for once.
Other austerity measures include strict adherence to the travel budget limits imposed on sector ministries. The release is silent on presidential travel and we hope during the budget exercise, the overall budget of the Office of the President and the Office of The First Lady will be subject to the same prudent allocation and management going forward.
On the government revenue side, effective January 2019 no physical cash disbursement will be allowed at service points as government initiate the digitization of the payment system to reduce level of cash transactions in the system.