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HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: DISAGREEMENT OVER 2023 BUDGET ALLOCATIONS BETWEEN FINANCE AND AGRICULTURE MINISTRY

GAMBIA: DISAGREEMENT OVER 2023 BUDGET ALLOCATIONS BETWEEN FINANCE AND AGRICULTURE MINISTRY

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Mustapha Samateh Director of Budget, Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) disagreed over the 2023 budget allocation affecting the Ministry of Agriculture during their reappearance before the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. 

Sometime last week, the two Ministries appeared before the Committee to discuss the 2023 budget allocation and the Select Committee urged them to go back and discuss among themselves, to identify the problem, and get back to them on February 28, 2023, which happens to be today. 

During their discussion, the Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Mustapha Samateh told the Committee that they had a discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture last week after the meeting with the Committee. 

Mr. Samateh said they agreed that where there is a need for internal re-allocation within the Ministry of Agriculture, they (MoFEA) are open to working with them on that. 

“All they (Ministry of Agriculture) have to do is request to the Ministry of Finance and say, “we wish to re-allocate from this one to that one, and we will do so,” Mr. Samateh told the Committee. 

In response to the Finance Ministry, Mr. Francis Mendy, The Director of Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture said last week, the Committee proposed that both Ministries should go out and see how best they can synchronise the gaps. 

“So, when we went out, the Ministry of Finance raised many things concerning where some of the funding gaps are. They asked us to go back and prepare a request, which was done, and we shared it with them (Ministry of Finance). But what they are trying to say is that we have to look at some of our budget line items and request for re-allocation. 

“But what we also observed is that some of the budget line items they were pointing out during our discussion, those budget line items are operating costs for projects. Once we tampered with those operating costs for projects, that simply means that those projects will end up suffering. So, the problem will not be solved,” Mr. Mendy told the Committee. 

Mr Mendy further told the Committee that what his Ministry did was to look at where the gaps were and then made a request for the allocation of funds to be able to fill those gaps and meet the requirements that the Finance Ministry proposed. 

The Director of Budget at the Finance Ministry, Mr. Samateh told the Committee that it is not their role as a Finance Ministry to increase what is already appropriated. 

“So, what was appropriated is what is reflected in the budget, and this was the advice. The conversation is that what we can work with them on is what they can reallocate from one budget line item to the other. But the issue of increasing it, I think that is your domain and that of the plenary,” Mr. Samateh told the Committee. 

The Committee then urged the two Ministries to go back for the second time and discuss among themselves to identify the problem and get back to them anytime they settled the issue.

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

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