Gambia’s Finance Minister, Amadou Sanneh has announced massive cuts to the West African nation’s budget to save the impoverished nation millions of dollars and help instill financial discipline.
The budget has been reduced from D4.7 billion dalasis ($117.5 million dollars) to D3.75 billion dalasis ($93.6 million dollars), a budgetary saving of D955 million dalasis ($23.9 million dollars).
“This revised budget has a total financing gap of D955 Million, compared to the D4.7 Billion Budget that was previously approved in December 2016,” said Sanneh.
The majority of the cuts are from allocations made to the Office of President Adama Barrow, which has more funding than most critical government agencies under his predecessor, Yahya Jammeh.
At least D475 million dalasis ($11.9 million dollars) mainly in goods and services, most of it from the budget of the Office of the President have been cut.
An additional D942 million dalasis ($23.6 million dollars) from general budget cuts, including a reduction in the government’s bloated vehicles fleet will be saved.
Barrow had pledged to cut government spending during his campaign for the presidency and plans are underway to reform the battered economy.
Jammeh had is accused of siphoning billions, spent more than $117 million in the last three years of his rule and fled the country with more than $50 million.
Gambian authorities have placed a freeze on his domestic assets and are reaching out for to seize his known international assets, including a $3.5 million mansion in the Washington suburb of Potomac.
Plans are advancing to vigorously pursue recovery of stolen assets of the government through all available channels, including the assistance of the World Bank Stolen Assets Recovery Unit, according to Finance Minister Sanneh.
Lawmakers were told last week that the country will gain at least $11.89 million from sales of four private presidential jets belonging to Jammeh but registered in the government’s name.