The budget of the Office of the President was sliced by D35.9 Billion, leaving it with D576.2 Billion. The President budget was initially proposed to the tune of D663.2 Billion for the year 2021. Members of the National Assembly whiles scrutinizing the 2021 Estimates before them sliced
After a very lengthy debate several cuts were made, in a bid to narrow a budget deficit of D6Billion. Among cuts is a D4million from a D10Million proposed for the presidents meet the people tour. Several others budget lines were all affected such as the trainings, fuel and lubricants, rents and rates, conferences and other budget lines.
A number of lawmakers seen as sympathetic to President Barrow boycotted a parliamentary vote called to slice funds in the 2021 budget estimates for the president’s annual Meet the People’s Tour.
The estimated budget allocation for the office of the president as tabled by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie stands at D663,299,000.
However, the Finance and Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly proposed that it be reduced to D 628,299,313
In breaking down the estimates of the President’s Office, the committee proposed a reduction of D4 million from the D10 million estimated on the president’s visit to the provinces. It sparked controversy after it was tabled for the lawmakers to provide suggestions as to the committee’s proposed reduction.
While the majority of the NAMs said it was justifiable to cut the budget off the president’s rural visits due to the dire straits the economy is in post-Covid-19 compounded by a D6 billion deficit, others disagreed and called for the D10 million allocations to be maintained.
“None of us is against cutting the budget but let us not cut in a way that will create problems,” one pro-Barrow said.
Finance Minister Njie also cautioned lawmakers against reducing the allocation, as he opinion that the president’s countrywide tours are constitutional requirements and any reduction could restrict the tours to only one.
Eventually, the members voted and sliced the D10 million to D6 million.