The real Gross Domestic Growth in The Gambia has picked up by 6 per cent in the past 3 years, contributing to the economic performance of the country and a solid growth registered in the agricultural and telecommunication sectors, according to Mambury Njie the Gambian Finance minister.
Minister Njie also added further to the National Assembly that despite the global financial crisis, The Gambia has certainly showed growth in its economy during the past 12 months.
“For the year 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP at 2004 market prices) grew by 5.4 per cent per annum compared to the 5.5 per cent of 2010. This is mainly due to the revised figures for crop production and fishing activities”.
With regards to the fiscal sector, Minister Njie advised that a substantial decrease was noted in revenues as a percentage to the GDP, this resulting to greater shortfalls and obliging the government to apply a number of tax administration reforms and more control on expenditures. The decrease was approx. 17.5 per cent in 2007 to about 14 per cent in 2011.
He said “It is against this background that the Gambia government has embarked on a series of reforms geared towards promoting macroeconomic growth stability, improve revenue mobilisation, and promote efficiency in resource allocation,”
The government has been expressing a steadfastness in maintaining and enhancing sufficient control over spending, by embarking on budgetary controls with the objective of introducing a medium-term horizon in planning and budgeting systems.
“The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) will constitute a budget planning framework that provides incentives for policy makers and budget planners to formulate medium-term budget plans by linking planning and policy formulation with budget allocations; aligning the annual budget decisions with medium term macro-fiscal strategy; restricting expenditures within realistic resource envelope, and improving monitoring and tracking of budget performance,” he said.
The Finance minister, Njie also stated that his ministry wants to aid in expanding the base and improve tax collection; this will be implemented by introducing a Value-Added Tax (VAT) IN 2012, as well as streamlining various tax exemptions, the purpose being to minimise the overall expenditures on tax.