BUDGET SPEECH 2004
PROGRAMME BASED BUDGETING FOR EFFICIENT RESOURCE ALLOCATION
AND USE WITH A POVERTY REDUCTION DIMENSION
VI. POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH
88. The Government of The Gambia continues to accord the highest
priority to the agricultural sector for the realization of the sector's
prime objectives of increased agricultural output, national food security
and increased rural incomes with gainful employment. In this regard,
Government continues to work closely with the donor community, private
sector and NGOs to ensure and enhance overall agricultural development.
89. During the 2002/2003 cropping season, the agricultural sector's
performance considerably slowed down. Overall crop production declined
drastically from 349,147 metric tons in 2001 to 208,563 metric tons
in 2002, representing a 40.3% decrease. Over 50% of the decline came
from the production of late maturing cereals and groundnuts. Aggregate
coarse grain production declined from 167,378 metric tons in 2001 to
118,407 metric tons in 2002, representing 30% decline. Swamp rice recorded
the highest production decline of about 74%, when compared to the corresponding
figure of 2001.
90. Groundnut production also registered a sharp decline, from
151,069 metric tons produced in 2001 to 71,526 metric tons in 2002,
a decline of about 53%. This unprecedented production decline is even
worst if considered within the context that the poor quality groundnut
seeds could not be used for planting in the preceding season.
91. Let me hasten to report that a number of interventions were
made by Government and its development partners to ease the plight of
the most affected communities. These included food aid assistance; provision
of equipment and inputs for increased dry season horticultural production;
provision of additional tractors, crop and livestock production inputs;
and provision of groundnut and NERICA seeds to the farming communities.
About 2,300 metric tons of groundnuts, 20 metric tons of maize, 7 metric
tons of findi, 30 metric tons of New Rice for Africa (NERICA), 15 metric
tons of sesame, 3,053 metric tons of fertilizer, 600 tins of stomp herbicide,
100 cartons of seed dressing chemicals and 100 cartons and 400 tins
of Marshal EC 40% and Sumicon EC 40% insecticides respectively have
also been provided to the farming communities.
92. For the year under review, the livestock sub-sector's performance
was constrained by acute shortage of livestock feed and water for drinking.
The Livestock Department thus embarked on the distribution of selected
small ruminant stocks to farmers aimed at upgrading the genetic potential
of our indigenous livestock and improving their productivity. The department
is also collaborating with International Tripanosomiasis Centre in implementing
a cross breeding programme in the Western Kombos and Upper and Lower
Niumi, geared towards producing first generation (F1) cross bred cows,
capable of producing over eight litres of milk a day, as compared to
the N'Dama cow that produces only about one litre.
93. Horticulture has been identified as a sub-sector with the
potential to contribute substantially to economic growth, provided that
prolific forward and backward linkages with other sectors of the economy,
such as tourism, are put in place. During the year, the sub-sector's
performance has been quite encouraging. Following the 2002/2003 season's
crop failure, small-scale horticultural production and marketing intensified
during the dry season. This was as a result of the interventions of
Government and development partners to assist small-scale horticultural
growers to boost production of mainly vegetables, and undertake fruit
orchard development, all of which are geared towards diversifying the
income sources of farmers and uplift their welfare.
94. In order to boost horticulture and livestock production,
and enhance their produce marketing, the five year Peri-urban Smallholder
Improvement Project (PSIP), a project jointly funded by Government and
the ADB, covering Western and North Bank Divisions, is sponsoring the
construction of two wholesale markets in Brikama and Serre-kunda, 63
road side and lumo (weekly) markets, and small-scale slaughter houses.
Over 200 women kaffos received technical, financial and group management
training in horticultural and livestock improvement and development.
95. Under the direction and advice of His Excellency The President,
who is also the Secretary of State for Agriculture, an Agricultural
Mechanisation Unit under the Department of Agricultural Services (DAS)
was set up in early 2003 to enhance and develop the sector's output
through improvement of farm activity scheduling operations. In this
regard, additional 49 new and 30 old tractors were deployed in the field
to enhance primary land preparation. By end of August 2003, over 2500
hectares of arable land were ploughed countrywide.
96. In its untiring efforts to revitalize the agricultural sector,
the Government continues to invest significant financial resources for
the realization of the principal objective of ensuring national food
security. A number of programmes and project interventions continue
to be co-financed by government and donors. The issue of domestic rice
production has been given a new sense of urgency by the recent crisis
of rising prices and the increased cost of imports. Government's commitment
to the promotion of domestic production is reflected in the number of
projects in the sub-sector. The projects to boost rice production include:
the Lowland Agricultural Development Programme (LADEP), The Irrigated
Rice Development Project (IRRIDEP) and The Integrated Rice Development
97. The project for the provision of technical assistance and
equipment for the food hygiene and quality control laboratory, funded
by BADEA amounting to $350,000, has now been finalized. A contract has
recently been signed with a Sudanese food hygiene specialist who is
expected to take up duties in The Gambia very soon for a two-year assignment.
It is pertinent to reiterate that operation of this quality control
laboratory will enhance the competitiveness of our fishery products
in the international market, and thus avail the country an increased
foreign exchange generation through fish exports.
98. The DFID (UK department for international development) funded
sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme, being implemented by the
FAO, has approved a us$500.000 pilot project for the improvement of
livelihoods in the artisanal fisheries post harvest sector for The Gambia.
The goal of this 3-year pilot project is poverty focused, and is to
reduce poverty among post harvest stakeholders by developing policies
and institutions to improve sustainable livelihoods and food security.
Women, who dominate the processing and marketing of fish and fishery
product, will benefit greatly from this project. The headquarters of
the pilot project will be in Gunjur, Kombo South, and nine villages
within the country have been identified as pilot project sites.
99. The Banjul Ice Plant Project, sponsored by the Government
of the Republic of China, Taiwan, valued at $300,000, and inaugurated
in July 2002, generated revenue of over half a million Dalasis as at
end-June 2003. The provision of ice in the Capital City has greatly
reduced post harvest losses in the production and processing of fish
and fish products at the Banjul beach.
100. Franco-Gambian cooperation in fisheries research has continued
to make significant progress with the implementation of two new projects:
Dynamics of the Management, Exploitation and Valorisation of Estuarine
Fisheries of West Africa, and the one year IRD\ Fisheries Department
Research on estuarine areas and the River Gambia. These projects will
increase our knowledge of the resource potential of the river fisheries,
thus enabling us harness those resources successfully.
iii. Tourism and Cultural Issues
Mr. Speaker Sir,
101. The tourism sector continues to assume greater significance
in our national economic development. It contributes up to 16 per cent
of our Gross Domestic Product, and is a major source of foreign exchange,
and is the second largest sector in terms of providing employment.
102. More than US $25 million have been spent over the past
year to refurbish and upgrade five major hotels. All these investments
come on the eve of the introduction of the classification scheme for
the hotels. This programme will seek to institute standards in the tourism
industry, and upgrade the quality of hotels and tourism resorts in the
country to internationally accepted standards.
103. There has been a positive development in the number of
tourist arrivals with new tour operators from the Swiss and the German
market. Neckerman, which is part of the Thomas Cook Group, has returned
to The Gambia this winter, to operate two flights a week. Provisional
estimates show that for the 2002/2003, we received a total of 80,000
air charter tourists, representing a slight increase from last year.
Initial projections are that the number of air charter arrivals should
increase by more than 14 per cent for the year 2004.
104. Meanwhile, the Gambia Tourism Authority (GTA) has opened
new offices in Cologne, Germany, and Gothenburg, Sweden, to promote
tourism and investment in The Gambia. Together with the GTA office in
London, they will handle all inquiries about The Gambia and will work
closely with Tour Operators, Airlines, the Media and the Gambia's Diplomatic
representations abroad, to promote The Gambia as one of the best destinations
105. In a bid to stimulate the development of arts and the creative
talents of the country, plans are well underway to set up the first
ever-modern Multi-Purpose Cultural Complex in the country. This complex
will serve as a resource centre for the development of arts and culture,
and will comprise the National Theatre and other amenities. It will
also house the premises of the new National Centre for the Arts and
Culture (NCAC). I am happy to report that the NCAC received a grant
of US $30,000 from the Ambassador of the United States, to enhance the
NCAC's conservation and maintenance of its renowned oral history collection
which presently stands at over 4,500 recorded tapes on Gambia history,
art and culture. This grant has greatly facilitated the purchase of
vitally needed equipment and materials, as well as the transcription
and translation of the N.C.A.C's research holdings, with the active
collaboration of some students from the University of The Gambia. The
final output of the exercise will result in the production of a publication
entitled " Ceremonies of the Gambia: Tradition in Transition", which
will be accompanied by a video production on the same publication.
106. The recent inscription of James Island and its related
sites on the World Heritage List maintained by the World Heritage Centre
at the UNESCO Headquarters is indeed a highly significant achievement
for the Gambia. These sites have now taken pride of place in the pantheon
of the World's most important historical and natural sites of outstanding
universal value. This remarkable achievement also presupposes that these
significant historical sites, namely James island, San Domingo, the
C.F.A.O and Maurel Freres buildings and the Chapel, all in Alberda/Juffure,
as well as Fort Bullen in Barra and the six Gun Battery at State House,
are no longer the responsibility of the Gambia Government alone in terms
of their protection and conservation, but the world at large. Further
enhancement and development of the sites will also boost cultural tourism
and contribute to poverty alleviation in the areas where the sites are
107. The National Centre for Arts and Culture has also embarked
on the process of nominating the Stone Circles Sites in the Central
River Division, notably Wassu and Kerr Batch, along with those located
in Northern Senegal, in partnership with the Senegalese Department of
Cultural Patrimony, for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
iv. Trade and Industrial Development
108. During 2003 the Department of State for Trade, Industry
and Employment (DOSTIE) has worked diligently to promote trade expansion,
raise investment and create a strong export base, as part of the national
effort to attain rapid economic growth. In this respect, The Gambia
Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency is charged with the daunting
task of diversifying exports through investment promotions.
109. After intense preparatory meetings, The Gambia participated
in the 5th WTO Ministerial conference held in Cancun, Mexico in September
2003. This conference attended by delegates from 146 nations endeavoured
to fashion a new trade agreement that would reduce poverty and boost
development in poorer nations, a goal set at its last meeting in Doha,
Qatar in 2001. The outcome, however, was not satisfactory as the meetings
ended without the world coming to an agreement on trade. A positive
note from the experience is that African countries are now beginning
to bargain as a single bloc on the international stage. It was also
during the year that The Gambia benefited, for the first time, from
the Trade Policy Review Mechanism, which is an integral part of the
WTO Rules that underpins The Gambia's trade policies and practices.
110. In pursuance of our strategies for the development and
promotion of trade in The Gambia, Department of State for Trade Industry
and Employment continues to finalise two important policy documents,
namely the National Trade Policy and the Competition Policy and Law
for The Gambia. The formulation of a Standard and Consumer Protection
Policy has also been embarked upon, in collaboration with the Commonwealth
Secretariat. These policies, which are being formulated within the framework
of the WTO, will together map out long-term development programmes for
the trade sector, based on principles of fair and transparent trading
rules, free and fair competition in the domestic economy, and minimal
state participation in commercial activities.
111. It will be recalled that it was in January this year that
the United States Government included The Gambia in a list of sub-Saharan
African (SSA) countries eligible for tariff preference under the US
African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Indeed this is a welcome
development, as it took place just a few months after the launching
of the Trade Gateway Project in October 2002, and the subsequent establishment
of the Gambia Investment and Free Zones Authority (GIPFZA). In this
regard, AGOA is expected to help enhance The Gambia 's competitiveness
in the global economy through encouraging the creation of sustainable
and competitive export-oriented enterprises and processing centres.
Concurrently, the development of a small and medium size enterprise
policy, focusing on creating the enabling environment to achieve a productive
economy is also being finalised.
112. In collaboration with the Integrated Framework of the International
Trade Centre, a project on the follow up of the Round Table on Trade,
Investment and Private Sector Development has completed a pilot phase
with promising prospects of exports from the fisheries, horticulture
and tourism sub-sectors. These are to be enhanced through the development
of an Export Development Programme, which is being discussed for donor
113. The draft legislation of the Consumer Protection Bill and
Rules and Limit of Error for packaged commodities have been prepared,
and are being put in legal drafts. When passed, this legislation would
protect the consumer from unfair competition, which is essential for
social development. In addition to this, the Industrial Tribunal, that
is intended to promote social justice and industrial peace as well as
decentralize labour administration, has been established in Banjul,
and will be extended to Brikama, Mansakonko, and Basse in due course.
114. Plans are afoot to establish a Trade Facilitation Centre,
the aim of which is to provide the private sector access to, a variety
of business data, market opportunities, Trade Regulations and Requirements,
from the local and international markets.
II. THE WORLD ECONOMY
IV. THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY
V. POVERTY ALLEVIATION
AND THE SOCIAL SECTOR STRATEGY
VI. POVERTY REDUCTION
THROUGH INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
VII. POVERTY REDUCTION
THROUGH INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPEMENT
X. DIVESTITURE STRATEGY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
XI. FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
XIII. FISCAL PROJECTION FOR YEAR 2004
XIV. REVENUE AND BUDGETARY MEASURES FOR 2004