BUDGET SPEECH 2002
PROGRAMME BASED BUDGETING FOR EFFICIENT RESOURCE ALLOCATION
AND USE WITH A POVERTY REDUCTION DIMENSION
VI. POVERTY ALLEVIATION AND
THE SOCIAL SECTOR STRATEGY
Mr Speaker, sir,
- The interim PRSP has already undergone a thorough review at the grassroots
and the comments from the consultations are being incorporated towards
the finalisation of the document by end January 2002, in readiness for
completion point of the HIPC initiative. The PRSP, you would recall,
spells out the poverty reduction agenda, and specifies the various programme
interventions towards achieving middle-income nation status. The finalisation
of the PRSP will culminate with a Round Table Conference slated for
mid-2002 with the cooperation of UNDP.
- Our poverty reduction strategy continues to target the poor directly
through various interventions, aimed broadly at enhancing the individual’s
capacity to produce and earn an income, sufficient for his or her economic
progress and the provision of social infrastructure for the general
well being of the Gambian people.
- A notable player in this arena of poverty reduction includes the Social
Development Fund (SDF). The Fund was set up to counter the menace of
poverty through a grass-root demand-driven approach with the extension
of micro-credit, provision of social service infrastructure, and the
provision of technical support towards poverty alleviation for CBOs,
NGOs and CSOs.
- To sustain and cement the gains made against poverty by the implementation
of SDF programmes, plans are at an advanced stage to transform it into
a Fiduciary Financial Institution (FFI). The proposed FFI will continue
with the present mandate of SDF in addition to functioning as an apex
body for the non-formal financial sector. By this function, the FFI
would provide the much needed linkage between the funding agencies,
including government, donors, NGOs, banks on the one hand and the Micro-Finance
Institutions (MFIs), social development organisations and CBOs on the
other hand. The FFI will create a permanent first stage institutional
conduit, and a permanent safety net for government and donor procured
funds intended for poverty reduction.
- Other players in the micro finance sub-sector include CRS, which is
supporting GAFNA in implementing a poverty lending micro-finance project,
in order to increase access to credit for approximately 400 poor rural
women. Also active in this area are National Co-operative Credit Unions
(NACCUG), National Women Finance Association (NAWFA), to name a few.
- The micro-finance sector has become cardinal to our poverty reduction
strategy, focusing inter alia, on credit delivery, capacity building
and retention as well as institutional support and strengthening. Government
therefore provides the appropriate and adequate regulatory and supervisory
services for the proper functioning of the micro-finance institutions
as a channel through which rural financial services reach rural households.
- In this regard, the Central Bank in conjunction with Rural Finance
Community Initiative Project (RFCIP) have initiated and adopted a co-ordinating
framework for all the stakeholders in the sector to monitor the operations
of the MFIs in order to enhance efficiency and eliminate duplication
i. Health and Population
- Significant achievements have been made in the health sector, notably
the basic health indicators, reduction in the levels of malnutrition
and an increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding.
- The thrust of health interventions still revolves around three areas,
viz: Family Health, Disease Control, and Health Promotion and Protection.
Other health services will focus on conducting reviews and studies to
determine adolescent and youth health needs, as well as to establish
current status of maternal mortality, infant mortality and contraceptive
prevalence. One major factor in the comprehensive review of the MCH/FP
Programme is to prepare for a shift into a National Reproductive Health
Programme. A Reproductive Health Policy has just been formulated and
this will be followed by the development of a national Health Plan of
- The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has also been reviewed
during the year 2001. Significant achievements registered include a
high coverage for individuals, high awareness among the population and
high access to immunization services. In spite of the relative high
coverage, there has been a decline in the number of fully immunized
children. This decline has been attributed to the intermittent shortage
of certain vaccines. To alleviate this, the budgetary allocation for
the procurement of vaccines has been increased considerably using HIPC
- On disease control, the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses
(IMCI) is one of the new strategies the Department of State for Health
has initiated. IMCI is a cost-effective strategy, which the country
has decided to implement starting with two health divisions, namely
the North Bank Division and Lower River Division. IMCI will contribute
significantly to the reduction of infant and child mortality. Regarding
the Roll-Back-Malaria Initiative, Government is providing 20,000 Insecticide
Treated Nets (ITNs) to be distributed to health facilities and communities
in the Upper River and Central River Divisions.
Mr. Speaker, Sir,
- I would like, at this point to remind the nation of the presence of
the monster HIV/AIDS in our midst. Despite the seemingly low prevalence
rates of 1.2% for HIV1 and 0.9% for HIV2, we cannot afford to be complacent.
It is a medical problem that has a social root and impacts most severely
on the economy. HIV/AIDS exists; it kills, creates orphans and makes
us poor. However, the good news is that it can be prevented, its victims
cared for and the rate of transmission brought down significantly. With
this objective, the government will, through the HIV/AIDS Rapid Response
Project endeavour to intensify its campaign for prevention and care,
adopting a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional approach to fight against
- On Social Welfare, government has constructed a Home for the Elderly
to accommodate up to 14 elderly persons. In addition, a policy for the
elderly is currently being formulated with support from the World Health
- As per the 1993 Census, the Gambia’s population stood at 1.2 million
with a high growth rate of 4.2% per annum of which immigration constitutes
1.7%. However, Government is concerned about this high population growth
rate as it poses a threat to existing social amenities. Preparations
are under way for the 2003 Census and funding is being sought from donors
and the private sector.
- With the aspiration of attaining the National Policy objective of
making land distribution equitably accessible to all persons without
disturbing the fauna and flora, we have recently demarcated and allocated
the ‘NEMASU’ Layout consisting of 537 residential plots. We are also
in the process of allocating three other Layouts namely, Bijilo residential
layout with 124 plots, Brufut with 548 plots, and Tanji with 535 plots.
An additional fourth layout is being prepared in Mariama Kunda in Kombo
North for lower grade civil servants including Messengers, Drivers,
Labourers and Watchmen. A total of 500 plots will be created.
- Following the successful allocation of of 1006 plots of the Brusubi
Housing Project Phase 1, and the continuing demand for shelter, the
Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) is now embarking
on Brusubi Housing Project Phase 2. In Phase 2, 841 serviced plots will
be allocated such that each income category gets a specific number of
- All these are geared towards upholding and realising the noble objective
of providing adequate housing for all citizens, in line with the Plan
of Action of the Strategy for Poverty Alleviation II.
- Government is however shifting from being a provider to an enabler
of shelter by encouraging private sector involvement in housing delivery.
Recently, two sites have been identified for a private sector developer
(TAF HOLDING), Old Yundum and Brufut, and construction work has already
started at the old Yundum Site.
iii. Education and Human Resource
Mr Speaker, Sir,
- The Government of the Gambia is committed to the provision of 9 years
of uninterrupted basic education to all. The academic year 2000/01 has
seen a tremendous expansion of Upper Basic Schools, 19 Upper Basic Schools
(UBS) were opened in Regions 1,3,4,5 and 6, representing an increment
of 22% from the previous year. This has increased the number of places
in UBS, thereby increasing access to the middle schools and the transition
rate from Lower to Upper Basic level. Three Senior Secondary Schools
have also been opened in Regions 1 and 2.
- Overall, 273 classrooms have been completed and 402 more are committed
for 2001. Following a study that was carried out to assess the required
classroom renovation, the ADB will be funding the maintenance initiative
in schools and construction of staff quarters for teachers in remote
- An operational manual has been completed for the Scholarship Trust
Fund. Presently, more than 1800 girls in Upper Basic and Secondary Schools
are sponsored in CRD and URD for 2000/01, totalling about D1.7m. The
scheme is expected to cover other divisions in due course, all in a
bid to increase the retention rate. We are also launching a school-feeding
programme to improve on the quality and retention in our schools: 243
Schools are benefiting from the Program and a total of 58,573 children
of whom 25,641 are girls. With the new school-feeding Program, the number
of beneficiary students is expected to more than double. This will also
strengthen the nutritional status of the children.
- In line with the government’s policy of creating more self-employment
opportunities for young Gambians, a Vocational Technical Education Policy
document is being developed. A draft Policy of the National Training
Authority Act has been submitted to cabinet and will be forwarded to
the National Assembly for approval.
- Part of the new Directorate of Science and Technology Education's
mandate is the introduction and the promotion of computer education
in Secondary Schools throughout the country. It is also mandated to
come up with an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy
that will address various aspects of computer use in our educational
- By the beginning of next academic year, most Senior Secondary Schools
throughout the country will each receive between 75 Computers and Accessories.
This is in addition to 220 computers donated by World Links for Development.
Work on construction and rehabilitation of computer labs in these schools
will soon commence.
- As part of the drive to increase access to university education at
home, three more faculties were established for the 2000/01 academic
year, making a total of four faculties namely: Humanities & the
Social Sciences, Science & Agriculture, Economics & Management
Science, and Medicine & Allied Sciences. Currently, over 400 students
are enrolled on these faculties. Arrangements are underway to enrol
the next batch of students as the University moves into the second year.
- In the linking up process of the two parallel school systems, twenty
qualified English Language Teachers have been posted in the Madrassas
that have met the criteria set by DOSE. The mainstreaming of children
with mild to moderate disability into the normal school system is also
in progress. Ten students in Lower Basic Schools, 7 in Upper basic Schools,
3 in Senior Secondary Schools and 4 in Vocational Training Institutions
have already been mainstreamed.
- There is also the need to raise the number of qualified teachers for
our expanding school system. Thus Gambia College has more than doubled
its student intake into the pre-service teacher education courses from
120 in 1997 to over 300 per year. As a result of the delays incurred
at the beginning of the program, student intake for pre-service training
courses were revised to meet planned targets.
iv. Youth, Sport and Women Development
- Poverty and unemployment generally, and particularly in the case of
Youths, do not augur well for society. Subsequently, the mandate of
the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) is being expanded to incorporate
apprenticeship training and market relevant skills development for more
young men and women in the economy, in a continuous effort to assist
youths individually towards self-development and collectively for national
- In the domain of sports, the construction works on the Basse, Soma
and Farafenni multi-purpose Youth and Sports Centres are well advanced.
Plans are also underway to extend sporting facilities to District and
municipal levels, and to set up a Sports Development Fund, to be financed
through the Tobacco Advert Levy and from other sources.
- Women constitute about 51% of our population and dominate the labour
force. They work the longest hours and also produce most of what we
can boast of. They however, constitute the greater proportion of the
poor. Government has realised that in women, lay a portent force against
poverty, hence our effort at mainstreaming women issues into all development
programmes and projects. The first National Policy for the Advancement
of Gambian Women was launched in March 2001 and with the kind intervention
of DFID, some of these issues are being addressed by the Mainstreaming
Poverty and Gender project.
- As a result, we have phase the Scholarship Trust Fund for Girls into
NBD and LRD in addition to URD and CRD to increase the number of educated
girls. We are also restructuring the Women’s Bureau to effectively implement
the National Policy for the Advancement of Gambian Women, and better
respond to the needs of our women folk.
II. THE WORLD ECONOMY
III. THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY
IV. CO-OPERATION AND INTEGRATION
V. OUTTURN OF THE 2001 BUDGET
VI. POVERTY ALLEVIATION AND THE SOCIAL SECTOR STRATEGY
VII. POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
VIII. POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPEMENT
IX. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
X. GOVERNANCE ISSUES
XI. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)
XII. PUBLIC ENTERPRISES (PEs)
XIII. FISCAL PROJECTION FOR 2002