By Manding Darboe, MBA Finance and Investments, New York
The coalition government of His Excellency Adama Barrow, in my opinion, has produced a realistic, sustainable and humane budget for The Gambia.
As a budget expert with responsibility for New York City’s $1.1 billion 5 year capital expenditure budget, I can vouch that The Gambia’s Finance, Minister Mr. Honorable Amadou Sanneh has produced the most sustainable fiscal budget that was ever produced since independence. I have never actually seen or listened to a reasonable, succinct, prudent and sustainable budget for my country, given what the Gambia had been through for the past 22 years. A national budget is supposed to be realistic, sustainable and humane. This year’s budget was realistic, sustainable and humane. I like his candor and his style of delivery. When Mr. Honorable Amadou Sanneh delivered/submitted his first budget, I braced myself expecting the worst because of Yahya’s, 22 year misrule, but Amadou promised to come back (which every financial professional under these arduous circumstances that is worth his salt would do), so I waited, before I make a comment. When he came back to the National Assembly, Amadou produced a budget that did all of the above (i.e. realistic, sustainable and humane). I watched everything and every minute of it in my New York Apartment in my study. Here are the key budget amounts/data that I culled from The Gambia’s most professional Finance Minister, Mr. Honorable Amadou Sanneh while he delivered the budget to The Gambia’s National Assembly, check the numbers out for yourself.
1. Creation of an all inclussive compact CRP (consolidated revenue Fund)
- Securing recognizable revenue from negotiated budget support funding from IFIs (international financial institutions-negotiated by a government that is just about 5 months in office. Bravo!)
Bailing out of our SOEs (State owned enterprises) re-negotiating and paying out their debts which most governments do if SOEs go under arduous financial destress
booking recognizable savings expected from the ongoing comprehensive staff audit of the Gambia’s Civil service
5. booking recognizable revenue yields in the amount of D471 millions from asset sale of of president airplanes of the former present
- booking recognizable revenue yields in the amount of D566 millions from asset sale of seized land of former president
booking recognizable revenue yields in the amount of D942 millions from asset sale of ballooned former government’s vehicle fleet.
National Debt Management
8. 9% reduction of our national debt service interest obligations (negotiated by a government that is just about 5 months in office. Bravo!)
- 9% reduction brings our debt service interest obligations from 3.72 billion to 2.68 billion (negotiated by a government that is just about 5 months in office. Bravo!)
TO BE FAIR, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT DO GOOD JOB WE SHOULD GIVE THEM CREDIT. GOOD JOB BARROW AND TEAM FOR THIS YEAR’S BUDGET!
This is the change we believe in and fought for . Finance minister and his team have taken the right step for economic management and financial stability. 8.9 % reduction of our national debt service interest obligations is a remarkable achievement which must be commended. We must continue to give full support where it is necessary but also not to let so the called self proclaimed victims or job seekers to detract the real freedom fighters who put their lives on the line to rescue the country. constructive criticisms are good for our New Democratization process and which must be encouraged. Assets declaration is important step in the right direction. So far the only criticism is the failure to appoint Vice President .
There seems to be a lot of goodwill in our International Development Partners to assist Gambia to extricate itself from the mess of the Jammeh regime, and the attempts to rationalise our spending priorities, through financial prudence (either by deficit reduction, revenue generation, etc) and successful renegotiation of our debt repayment obligations are efforts that deserve commendation by a 5/6months old government. I hope the government continues in that promising direction.
My only worry is the sale of the assets of the former president before any enquiries have been held and completed to determine the source and legitimacy of his assets, as well as, the extent of his alleged theft of state funds and the true amount he owes the state. How did we get to the point of selling his assets, when the freezing of these assets, through the courts, has only been achieved few months ago?
Indeed, we voted for change and we must be pleased with the change that we have achieved so far, but we must never allow our personal or group experiences at the hands of Jammeh guide state policy. We must certainly not indulge in the rule of impunity, even if the “victim” or target is Yaya Jammeh.
I don’t want to accuse the government of impunity but selling the frozen assets of Jammeh without following due process is very close to impunity, if not outright impunity. There are a lot of questions that need answers. For example, has all the assets been accounted for? What about the queries raised with the published list of frozen assets? Have they all been successfully answered?
Bax , it is not a surprise to see you worried or sympathetic to Jammeh when the finance minister announced they are going to sell his stolen assets to help rebuild and revive our economy. Everyone knows that Jammeh never got those assets in any legitimate way. Therefore it becomes a false assumption and to accuse the government for impunity , when already the internal investigation has led to conclusion to freeze his assets and subsequent announcement of sale of his illegal assets.
Your thinking is the same thinking the entire leadership of PDOIS has in order to allow jammeh to have total control of his illegal assets. It is the belief of PDOIS leadership not to freeze jammeh’s assets and Mr Sallah in particular do not want Jammeh’s illegal assets to be frozen or sold . You never cared about rule of law or human rights when it comes to real victims of military dictatorship, you only advocate for justice when it comes to Jammeh’s so called properties. Why you don’t advocate for people whose lands has been confiscated or money stolen from Gambian people?
Currently, the planes are associated with former dictator. These are the properties of Gambian people. Jammeh’s salary cannot buy him four planes . That is the common sense , moral and legal dimensions.
”Your thinking is the same thinking the entire leadership of PDOIS has in order to allow jammeh to have total control of his illegal assets. It is the belief of PDOIS leadership not to freeze jammeh’s assets and Mr Sallah in particular do not want Jammeh’s illegal assets to be frozen or sold” .
Where is the prove to substantiate your allegation ? or do you want to tell us that you know what is in the heart of people ?
Why do you like denying a fact that is evident to everyone who cares about the truth?
This is what Bax has said.
”My only worry is the sale of the assets of the former president before any enquiries have been held and completed to determine the source and legitimacy of his assets, as well as, the extent of his alleged theft of state funds and the true amount he owes the state.”
Is this not a legitimate concern Max ? Which court or commission made a declaration that the alleged Jammeh properties should be forfeited to the state because they found to be ill-gotten? Is that not the right course to be taken which you will call adherence to rule of law ?
Or is it ok for us too to be behaving like Yahya Jammeh in what we call the new Gambia ?
Fabaks, there are circumstancial evidences which indicate that Halifa never want Jammeh’s illegal assets to be frozen . These evidences are ; he condemned Mr mai fatty when Mr fatty stated that Jammeh stolen millions of dollars . Mr Sallah also condemned Mrs Tambajang when she indicated during the impasse that Jammeh should be prosecuted. These condemnations are pre-mediated strategy designed to support and protect Jammeh’s properties. Prosecution of Jammeh will lead to forfeit of his illegal assets. During the impasse, Mr Sallah is the only politician who was interested to provide blanket amnesty to Jammeh and he was the very one who planned a suicide mission to meet jammeh at statehouse but thanks to brilliant thinking of other coalition leaders, the so called suicide meeting with Jammeh was averted. Fabaks, I have been following PDOIS leadership for so long , I can say with high degree of confidence that Mr Sallah belief that Jammeh should have control of his assets. His political strategy and behavioral patterns truly indicate that. Have you ever seen him talking about the true victims of military dictatorship despite his rhetoric? Another point is that why he mentioned Jammeh’s properties in his last conference?
Max (the mind reader)…
Put your mind reading skills aside for a minute and deal with the facts, which are:
1. Suspicion does not equate facts. We may suspect that Jammeh acquired his assets illegally, but that does not mean that we are right. A proper investigation needs to be carried out to establish the truth about his assets. Has that been done? Share if you have any info.
2. Jammeh’s assets are currently frozen, as far as we know. Assets frozen by a court order CANNOT be sold off until the same court reversing the order first. Has that been done? Please share any info you have.
Otherwise, selling assets frozen by a court order, without first securing a reversal, is impunity, whether you like it or not.
3. Contrary to your continued false claims, Hon.Sallah never condemned either Mr Fatty or FJT.
With regards to FJT’s claim that Yaya Jammeh will be prosecuted, all he said was that this was not a matter discussed by the alliance. If you have any info that the alliance discussed and agreed on it, please share.
As for Mr Fatty’s claims, all he said was that the feedback he received from the teams that visited state institutions, including the Central Bank, was that nothing was missing. If you have any info that missing funds were reported to him but he chose to hide that fact, please share.
Hon.Mai Fatty has recently commended Hon Halifa Sallah in the National Assembly, for helping the government to solve the Kaninlai issues. Valuable lessons have been learnt, he said.
Can you borrow a leaf from his book and admit the inevitable? That’s what decent human beings do.