Finance minister: 2014 budget to create more savings on interest payments

Government plans to embark on a campaign to attract foreign direct investments

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By Sanna Camara

The Gambia’s minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has said that the main objectives of the 2014 budget are to create more savings on interest payments to allow increased financing of government programmes and to make allocations that meet set targets for agriculture, health, and education.

Presenting the 2014 draft budget estimates before the before National Assembly members earlier this week, minister Kebba S. Touray said  government “intend to achieve this by bringing down the stock of domestic debt relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” through the reduction of net domestic borrowing requirements over the short to medium term.

“This is expected to lead to a drop in the domestic debt ration from the end 2013 projection of 80 percent to 60 percent by end 2016,” he told members.

Urgent need to contain the growth in domestic debt

The minister also told the lawmakers that there is an urgent need to contain the growth in domestic debt, and to limit the overall growth of government expenditure in line with revenue growth. He however noted that achieving this would be difficult unless there is high-level commitment from all stakeholders.

Given that the government faces significant challenges to mobilise the needed resources to implement its development agenda, Finance Minister Touray told lawmakers that it will address the issues through a broad-based approach.

This, he explained, will include rebuilding of government revenues, savings from reduced interest costs on domestic debt, accessing external concessional financing while maintaining debt sustainability and harnessing private participation in viable sectors.

Addressing major debt problems confronting the Gambia economy

The government, he went on, seeks to address optimally the major debt problems and issues confronting the Gambia economy by exploring new innovative ways of mobilising external resources in order to ensure that there is sustainable development. 

“It will also partner with the private sector and donors in putting in place a legal and regulatory framework for public-private partnerships initiatives, embark on a campaign of communications for attracting foreign direct investments and also facilitate the participation of the private investors in our national development programmes,” he indicated.

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