Thursday, December 10, 2015

Revenue from mining not reflected in 2016 budget, claims opposition National Assembly Member?

Finance Minister Abdou Kolley
Hon. Samba Jallow, NRP
Hon. Samba Jallow, the National Reconstruction Party's Member of the National Assembly revealed in a newspaper interview that although the mining sector "is a revenue earning source, it could not be found in the budget" and he wants to know why from the Minister of Finance who tabled the 2015 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

As far was we can tell, The Gambia, under the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh has entered into one known mining contract with an Australian-based firm which has ended in arbitration.  The Carnegie Mineral (Gambia) Limited took its case to the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investments Disputes (ICSID) in Washington for breach of contract which ruled in Carnegie's favor by awarding it approximate $ 22 million in damages plus cost.  The Gambia is appealing the decision.

All of the information used in this blog and previous blogs came not from the government of the Gambia but from either the parent company of Carnegie Minerals (Gambia) Ltd or the ICSID sources.  It is therefore not a surprise that a Member of The Gambian National Assembly is demanding transparency from a regime - including the Joint Parliamentary Committee PAC/PEC - that claims to be transparent.

The regime is obviously sitting on information that Gambians are entitled to.  Although Carnegie Mineral has been expelled from the Gambian and its assets seized by government, mining operations still continue in numerous sites.  The question is who owns the assets and how are the proceeds from the mining operations treated in the budget.  Are the assets owned and operated by government or have ownership been transferred to an entity owned by Yaya Jammeh?

In addition to the heavy metal mining activities, the sand mining operations, like the petroleum sector, are also shrouded in secrecy.  Are the owned by government or private concerns and how are proceed from these operations treated in the budget?  The National Assembly Member deserves an answer and so do Gambians in general on the mining sector.