Gambia’s domestic revenue is expected to grow by 4.0% in 2011, mainly from taxes and non-taxable items, the country’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Abdou Kolley, indicated Saturday when he presented the nation’s budget to the National Assembly in Banjul, the capital, PANA reported from here.
He said domestic revenue was projected to grow to a figure over the 2010 budget of 4.59 billion Dalasis or 14.6 percent of the GDP, of which D4.07 billion will be collected from taxes and D522 million from non-taxable items.
Project grants are to amount to D981 million, while external debts will be D506 million. Interest payment on debts is projected to increase by 20.5 percent from D762 million in 2010 to D919 million in 2011.
He said “This yields are relatively tight budget constraint, where total government expenditures and net lending will be limited to D6.12 billion or 19.5 percent of the GDP compared to the 20.3 percent of GDP in the 2010 budget.”
He revealed that expenditure on wages and salaries are budgeted to gulp D1.67 billion, reflecting an 11.5 percent increase over the budget estimate of D1.50 billion in 2010.
He also said the current expenditure is 2.26 billion are budgeted to increase by 3.0 percent over budget estimate of D2.19 billion in 2010.
The minister said that the overall fiscal deficit for 2011 was projected at D466 million, amounting 1.5 percent of the GDP in 2010, saying the deficit would be fully financed through domestic and external resources. The net-external financing is estimated at D328 million while domestic financing is projected at D120 million.
“The 2011 budget and economic policy focus more on the economic and financial policies that the government intends to pursue in realization of the government’s vision of creating a “better Gambia” as enshrined in vision 2020”, he said.
He added that the implementation of these polices would yield the desired result of creating a prosperous and thriving nation which will provide opportunities for better life for all Gambians.
The 2011 budget, like the 2010 budget, places emphasis on aligning expenditure to priorities that best support the achievement of the PRSP-II and Millennium Development Goals as well as other activities that will stimulate economic growth and development.
He further said government, in 2011, would increase investments in agriculture, education, health, infrastructure and tourism, saying that government would also scale up intervention in public financial management to ensure improved fiscal discipline and improved quality of expenditure outcomes.
He revealed that revised balance of payments (BOP) estimates for 2009 indicated an improved overall balance of US$ 5.6 million dollars, a deficit of US$ 38.9 million in 2008.
The minister admitted that the year 2010 witnessed a regain in exports of made-filaments, groundnuts and cashew nuts, saying that better marketing strategies adopted by the Gambia Groundnut Corporation and the formation of the Gambia Transportation Association helped to increase exports of groundnuts