Deputies raise eyebrows over continuous govt borrowing
National Assembly Members (NAMs) have expressed concern over excessive borrowing of government.
This concern was raised during a motion tabled to ratify the US$50 loan agreement between The Gambia and BADEA.
The motion was tabled by the minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Seedy Keita.
Reacting to the loan scheme, the lawmaker for Latrikunda Sabiji, Hon. Yaya Sanyang, observed the government’s unending borrowing, while focusing the attention of fellow legislators on the historical perspective of Gambia’s borrowing.
He recalled that 30 years of Sir Dawda Jawara’s governance accumulated a whopping sum of D19 billion loan while Jammeh’s 22 years rule accumulated D52 billion.
According to him, “President Adama Barrow’s seven years of governance put Gambia’s loan to nearly D100 billion. He thus recommends to the government to consider moving away from taking more loans.
The Latrikunda lawmaker also suggested that if this particular loan agreement is ratified, it should reflect on the lives of citizens by subsidising and reducing the prices of fuel and other essential commodities.
Hon Bakary K. Badjie, the NAM for Foni Bintang Karanai, suggested to government to create avenues on ways to generate funds for itself and desist from depending on loans.
“Taking these loans will make the work of the next government difficult; instead of focusing on national development, half of their plans will be paying big loans with interest. The government should generate funds for its people and develop the country,” he added.
He further advised the government to consider taking loans in other currencies and deviate from dollar.
“Looking at the dollar in the market, our currency is always depreciating and before taking these loans, the government should consider how flexible it is when paying.”
The Finance minister while tabling the motion acknowledged that in the last quarter of 2022, The Gambia’s economy experienced a shortage of foreign exchange particularly the United States dollar, saying that hampered the private sector’s ability to provide stable and essential goods such as rice, maize and petrol among others at competitive prices.
“This situation solicited the Ministry of Finance to seek support from BADEA to provide a US$50 million trade finance facility geared towards the importation of the aforementioned items,” he explained.
He elaborated that BADEA is committed to provide support to The Gambia government through this loan, which he said would provide an inflow of foreign exchange to ease importation of the essential commodities.
The loan agreement was later considered and ratified by members of parliament.
Source: The Point