Gambia’s minister of finance and economic affairs, Maburuy Njie, on Thursday scored high marks for the small West African country’s economy saying it has withstood the uncertainties of the global economic environment.
Presenting the 2012 budget to the National Assembly, he pledged the government’s commitment to continue to consolidate the macroeconomic gains chalked so far.
Njie said GDP was estimated to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2011 underpinned by healthy performance in the agricultural and telecommunication sectors.
He said inflation continued to be subdued with the end-September 2011 figure standing at 4.1 per cent, compared to 6.2 per cent the previous year, adding that the target for 2012 was 6.0 per cent.
Njie said total revenue and grants in 2012 were projected at D5.77 billion compared to D5.65 billion in 2011. (US$1=D29).
Total expenditure and net-lending were projected to increase by about 10 per cent from D6.11 billion in 2011 to D6.72 billion in 2012.
“Personnel expenditure is projected to increase from D1.67 billion in 2011 to D1.73 billion in 2012 … and other charges are estimated to stand at D2.45 billion in 2012 compared to D2.26 billion in 2011, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 12.6 per cent.”
Njie said domestic borrowing was projected to increase from D120 million in 2011 to D541 million in 2012.
The minister said there was a rigorous prioritization in the budget to make sure that expenditure outlays matched revenue rejection as much as possible, within a limited scope of increase in domestic debt to finance the deficit.
He said the settlement of National Water and Electricity Corporation arrears and other liabilities were projected to increase from D31 million in 2011 to D45 million in 2012.
“Within a weak global economic environment, revenue projected for 2012 has been very cautions, and to avoid a spiraling of the already high domestic debt, domestic financing of the budget has been limited to about D541 million.”
Njie said government operations during the first three-quarters of 2011 yielded an overall deficit, excluding grants, of D889.9 million, 2.8 per cent of GDP