NA questions agric ministry over extra D40M allocation
Agriculture and Rural Development Select Committee of the National Assembly has questioned the Ministry of Agriculture over the extra D40 million allocated to them.
“We were informed that extra D40 million was given to agriculture and regarding that D40 million, it is stated that D25 million was given to NARI, D10 million was given to Setiwali and D5 million was given to DNS. If at all these monies we’re given to these sectors, it needs to reflect in the approved estimate,” Hon Omar Jato Jammeh, member of the committee, probed the ministry’s officials for clear explanation and records.
“Because if some of the development goals that were supposed to go to the Ministry of Agriculture under the administration sub-programme, planning and department of operatives are all taken out, we therefore need clarity on where the taxpayers’ money goes.”
The probing took place on Tuesday after the ministries of Agriculture and of Finance and Economic Affairs were made to re-appear before the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, for the distribution of the 2023 budgetary allocation.
It would be recalled that officials of the Ministry of Agriculture had requested for budget increment in their first appearance before the committee, and the committee had advised them to have a discussion with the Finance Ministry since granting that request was beyond their powers.
Francis Mendy, the director of Planning, highlighted that during their last meeting, it was the select committee that proposed for the two ministries to meet and see where the gap lies.
He said that the committee further asked them to go and prepare a request, which was done and shared.
“I went to the Ministry to find out whether the letter that has been sent is received, but according to the Ministry of Finance, their response was in the negative,” Mr Mendy said.
He recalled that later they received information that the letter was confirmed with a request for reallocation but some of the budget line items the Ministry of Finance outlined were mere operating cost for projects, and “once that is tampered with, those projects will end up suffering”.
He further explained: “The problem was not still solved and then we made a request for allocation of funds to be able to fulfill those gaps not meeting the requirement they tried to propose.”
However, Mustapha Samateh, the director of budget, said they could only give advice on reallocation of budget but the issue of increment is beyond their mandate.
Source: The Point