MPs debate on 2020 Appropriation budget

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Law makers at the National Assembly Wednesday debate the 2020 Appropriation budget that was tabled before them by finance Minister Mamburay Njie, last week.
Representative of Illiassa constituency, Dembo K. M. Camara expressed disappointment on the budget, saying it does not favour the farmers, saying the increment on the water and electricity in 2020 is huge and they have no sympathy for farmers, while agriculture is the backbone of the country.
Mr Camara urged the ministry of finance to review the budget for it to be in the advantage of the poor people and farmers.
“The youth are under budgeted and they should be the number one priority of the country,” Ebrima Solo Jammeh, MP for Foni Bintang Karanai said. He said the government is trying to eradicate illegal migration so if the youths are not catered for they will go through the backway.
Mr Jammeh also spoke on the downsizing of the number of embassies in the Gambia, according to him they are one of the cause of the budget increment.  He pleaded with ministry of foreign affairs to look into the matter of the embassies in the country.
He further said they need an explanation for the increment of allowance by D62m in the ministry of interior.
Fatou K. Jawara, parliamentarian for Tallinding said the budget levied on the secondary and tertiary health care should be looked into by the minister to reduce the rate of maternity and infant deaths.
Saikou Marong, parliamentarian for Latrikunda Sabaji said the government spending on state owned enterprise is too much. “We are spending so much the state owned enterprises but what we are gaining from them is the question we should ask,” he said.
Mr Marong said the government should provide a convenient environment for the private sectors because they are providing the jobs in the country. “The health sector should be looked into for a healthy nation is a wealthy nation,” he said.
He request the government to negotiate with the Chinese and Koreans for their doctors to come to The Gambia to help the patients and help improve the country’s health sector. “Lot of allowances is created in the 2020 budget that was not in the 2019 one, and the minster has said they will restructure the salary scheme but we have not seen any restructuring, only creation of new allowances,” he said.
He further said that audit office is not supposed to go for bilateral, saying that is a draft budget and Deputies have the power to accept or reject it.
Fatoumatta Njai, parliamentarian for Banjul South said the country’s priorities must be checked, especially towards the health sectors. “We all want good health for everyone especially women and children. 8 women have dead in September during child birth in Banjul. Is the repaying of Nawec’s debt more important than our children at the hospital?” he questioned.
Mrs Njai spoke on the President’s advisers, saying ministers cannot be advisers to the president. “If the president is saying he needs more advisers, is he saying he doesn’t need ministers?”

Story written by Binta Badjie

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