The number of vehicles that would be allocated to Gambian ministers has been restricted to one, raising hopes for change and serious government cuts.
President Adama Barrow appears to be capturing the vision of supporters and even critics with a zeal for saving the government money.
Gambian ministers are usually allocated three government vehicles with fuel coupons,including one for family use, a practice that the new policy approved by the president and presented to Parliament would cut.
On the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, Amadou Sanneh, Mr. Barrow had signed a policy in October had banned permanent secretaries and directors of state institutions from flying first class.
Sanneh had also urged the president to also cut the number of government vehicles in use by other officials, including permanent secretaries. The decision will save the country more than half a billion dalasis (US $11 million dollars).
After coming to power, Barrow had downsized the budget for the State House [Gambia’s equivalent of the White House] and the first family, axing at least D475 million dalasis ($11.9 million dollars).
Such public displays of thrift and austerity appear to be turning Barrow into a star for even the opposition. Barrow has pledged to increase the country’s revenue, create more jobs and accelerate economic growth.
The belt-tightening measures are aimed at raising more money to finance the government’s plan after international partners pumped in more than $120 million ($5.5 billion dalasis) to rescue the economy.