Today is the deadline for Gambia to approve its 2023 draft budget.
The budget was presented by Seedy Keita, Gambia’s finance minister, giving parliamentarians two weeks to approve the budget. A series of parliamentary delays has held the budget up in the legislature, and debate on the proposed budget has been rushed due to time constraints.
Government expenditure under the new budget is expected to increase by about 13%, mainly driven by an increase in “other expenditures” including hardship allowances for teachers in schools, previously paid for by the World Bank among other allowances. Part of the 2023 budget recommended raises for members of the National Assembly, a controversial proposal given that Gambia faces an economic crisis caused by a surge in food and energy prices and exacerbated by challenges in revenue collection. Low revenues this year were due to an increase in global oil prices, leading to increased fuel subsidies. This was coupled with grants from the EU and African Development Bank that did not materialize.
The 2023 budget will likely be approved by Parliament. Much of the budget will be put towards supporting social service delivery particularly in secondary education and the health sector with an emphasis on medical supplies and vaccines, which will reduce Gambia’s dependence on foreign medicines.
Andrew Nicholas Prado-Alipui is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. He has contributed to the Daily Brief as an Analyst focusing on developments in Sub-Saharan Africa He will be pursuing a Master's degree at the University of South Carolina beginning in Fall 2022. Andrew is also a publisher of the Daily Brief.