The allocation of 112 Million Dalasi on vehicles for the office of the President and 95 Million Dalasi for Hotel accommodation of the General Services under the supplementary appropriation bill which has been recently passed by the National Assembly raises questions of priority when it comes to government expenditure.
How many vehicles could one buy out of 112 Million Dalasi and for what purpose? Who are covered under General Services and why would they need 95 Million Dalasi expenditure for hotel accommodation at this latter part of the year? Have the services been already rendered before seeking the money from the National Assembly?
Spending a total of 207 Million Dalasi on vehicles and hotel accommodation is clearly not the priority of a government which is experiencing budget deficits and is living on domestic borrowing.
Section 112 paragraph (b) of the Constitution states: “The responsibilities of the members of the National Assembly shall include the following-
(a) all members shall maintain the dignity of the National Assembly both during the sittings of the National Assembly and in their acts and activities outside the National Assembly;
(b) all members shall regard themselves as servants of the people of The Gambia and desist from any conduct by which they seek improperly to enrich themselves or alienate themselves from the people, and shall discharge their duties and functions in the interest of the nation as a whole and in doing so, shall be influenced by the dictates of conscience and the national interest.”
One may now ask: Were the members of the National Assembly influenced by the dictates of conscience and the national interest when they approved a supplementary budget with 86 Million Dalasi allocated for national celebrations, 135 Million Dalasi on travel expenses, 95 Million Dalasi on hotel accommodation and 112 Million Dalasi on purchase of vehicles which would be financed by further borrowing? The voters will give their answer in the next elections.