Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Was NAWEC forced to buy Brikama power station from Mohamed Bazzi?

In what appears to have been a leaked Cabinet Paper (CP) of the Minister of Finance, Kebba S. Touray, laying out the outline of his 2015 Budget Estimates, several stauning revelations and admissions were made to his cabinet colleagues.

The CP's preamble warns of the impending hardship that Gambians should expect in 2015 because of the rapidly deteriorating fiscal condition resulting from imprudent fiscal and monetary management of the economy.

The deficit which was projected to be in the region of 4.5% of GDP is now projected over twice that to 10% of GDP, forcing the Finance Minister to admit to both the Joint National Assembly Members last week, and now his cabinet colleagues that "2015 is not going to be easy."

Despite numerous warnings by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the devastating effects a ballooning deficit will have on the overall performance of the economy, the regime of Jammeh has proven unable to control spending most of which are of the frivolous kind that contributes nothing to economic growth.

The latest explanation of the ballooning deficit is what the Minister described as "spending on NAWEC's behalf" equivalent to 2.5% of GDP which we estimate to be in the region of GMD 783 million.  What was the amount for?  It now appears that NAWEC was forced to buy the Brikama plant from Mohamed Bazzi, Jammeh's business partner.

We look forward to the Minister's  Budget Statement in the next few days to see if further details are provided to Gambians about this particular expenditure, the rationale for the sale and terms and conditions of the sale.