Monday, November 24, 2014

Gambian Opposition must join Hamat Bah to condemn Jammeh

The Gambian Opposition parties are being encouraged to take Yaya Jammeh to task on the blatant abuse of the budget process that led to the siphoning off billions of dalasi for the private gain of Jammeh and the very few of his circle of cronies.

Unfortunately, these budget gimmicks and shenanigans are becoming too frequent at a time when the economy calls for belt-tightening in the face of a deteriorating value of the dalasi and the ballooning domestic debt.  With a possible decline in groundnut production this year and an already dire food-deficit situation, the economic climate calls for both monetary and fiscal prudence.

The 2014 Supplementary budget request amounting to D 1.12 billion representing approximately 10% of additional resources to the 2014 Budget approved by the same National Assembly that subsequently approved the Supplementary Appropriations without substantive, thorough and serious debate of what can only be described as a deceptively concocted budget request.

The opposition parties must join Hamat Bah, leader of the NRP who's rightly convened a press conference to protest at the appropriateness of the request and the lopsided nature of the 2014 Budget in favor of a non-operational unit of government like the Office of The President.

Hamat Bah needs to be joined by the leaders of the opposition. in opposing the decision of the National Assembly and to take the extra step of demanding that the Supplementary Budget process be re-opened, debated thoroughly, including a line-by-line justification of each individual request, including the amount D 459,473,513 for the Office of the President, purportedly to pay for celebrations, airplane crew salaries, insurance and air tickets for the all-female "protocol officers", purchase of luxury cars and fuel for the presidential  entourage, and other frivolous expenditure items.

We have already taken a stance on the matter, and we hope the rest of the leadership of the opposition will too.