Gambia National Assembly Budget Argument
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Members of the Gambia National Assembly have regretfully find fault with the budget transformation process instituted by the government to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The government make known a D500 million emergency fund and a D734 million food support from this year’s approved D21 billion budget to overcome the coronavirus outbreak, but lawmakers on finance and public account committee described the decision as “illegal” in the absence of a parliamentary approval.
Sidia Jatta, Fatoumatta Njai and Ya Kumba Jaiteh all went against that the minister of finance did not have the transformatio powers to transfer funds from one public account to the other without the approval of the National Assembly who consent to the original allocation bill.
“It is the position of the law that I am defending.You do not have the authority to do a virement because technically it was the parliament which decided on these laws and to change it you must come back to parliament to seek authority but you failed to do that and that is why I said you are in contempt of the parliament because we made it clear to you in our last meeting. It is not that we are opposed to expenditure on Covid-19, in fact for us the expenditure is too late but you insisted and went ahead to do something that is even worse than the first process,” Sidia added.
The Member for Banjul South Fatoumatta Njai said: “The ministry of finance is in contempt of what the National Assembly has approved and I think it’s about time we started enforcing strict penalties to ensure everybody adheres to the rules because this committee has powers as the high court.”
She encouraged lawmakers to look into the matter for a bona fide penalty to apply on the minister because he cannot be in his corner and start viring money without the authority of the parliament and those in leadership agencies.