The government of Gambia has presented a budget of 8.6 billion Dalasi (US$223.3 million) for 2014.
Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Kebba Touray, while presenting the budget to parliament Thursday, said it would focus on fiscal prudence aimed at minimising the growing deficit being financed by costly domestic borrowing.
He said the budget was anchored on containing the net domestic borrowing (NDB) to 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2014 and to near-zero per cent by end 2016.
“The objective of this policy is to contain inflation, stabilise the Dalasi (national currency) and to increase domestic savings for programme financing,” the minister said.
The budget represents an 13.5 per cent increase over the 2013 budget, due to a 20.5 per cent expected rise in tax revenue and a 32.0 per cent projected increase in non-tax revenue.
Included in the total revenue projection is a budget support of D313 million (US$8.3 million) from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, he said.
Meanwhile, Touray has said the major contributors to growth in economic activity for 2013 are the agricultural sector, with 9.7 per cent compared to 6 percent in 2012, the industry sector, with 7.0 per cent compared to 6.4 per cent in 2012, and the service sector, with 3.7 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent in 2012.
“The growth in the agriculture sector is mainly driven by increase in crop production, livestock, forestry, and fisheries which recorded 14.6, 4.6, 3.4 and 4 per cent respectively, while the growth in the industrial sector is mainly coming from the construction sub sector,” he said.
According to the minister, electricity and water recorded a growth of 2.2 per cent mainly due to the expansion in rural electrification, while the service sector growth for 2013 was 3.7 per cent, compared to 5.8 per cent in 2012.
“Despite global and domestic challenges including the international financial crises and the recent drought, the Gambia still remains resilient,” Touray said.