BUDGET SPEECH 2004
PROGRAMME BASED BUDGETING FOR EFFICIENT RESOURCE ALLOCATION
AND USE WITH A POVERTY REDUCTION DIMENSION
VIII. POVERTY REDUCTION THROUGH
115. Since the financial year 2000, NAWEC's liquidity problem
has been worsened by the depreciation of the Dalasi and the Iraqi war
has also affected the global price of petroleum products. In fact, the
price of a barrel of crude oil went up to $42, the highest in 10 years.
In order to mitigate these losses, NAWEC was compelled to adjust its
rates. Although tariffs were increased by 70% and 40% for electricity
and water respectively in 2003, the anticipated benefits were eroded
by oil price increases and the depreciation of the Dalasi. The outlook
for 2004 would require further tariff adjustmnt.
116. Despite these constraints in NAWEC, moderate progress has
been registered in 2003. The Greater Banjul Network Expansion Project
financed by Import - Export Bank of Taiwan, is to be completed not later
than the first quarter of 2004. The project will increase transmission
capacity at Kotu Power Station and extend electricity to communities
in the Greater Serrekunda and the Coastal Villages. The preparations
for the rural electrification project are well at an advanced stage.
Work on the project will commence in early 2004. For 2004 NAWEC intends
to embark on the rehabilitation of generator No. 11, increase generator
capacity and start preparation for the greater Banjul water supply project.
ii. Civil Works
117. The Gambia, like most developing countries, has invested
and continues to invest massive resources in the improvement and expansion
of its road network, in an effort to promote economic growth and social
development. In a bid to help sustain these huge investments, the Gambia
Roads and Technical Services Authority Bill, was recently enacted by
this august Assembly. The Authority, which will be operational in 2004,
will be responsible for the administration, construction and maintenance
of all roads throughout the country. Its operations will be funded by
a dedicated road fund where the proceeds from road related charges would
be lodged and this would address the perennial problem of inadequate
funding for maintenance, as well as, safe guard government's huge investment
in roads. In addition, the Authority will to the extent possible, contract
out road maintenance works to the private sector to help build up capacity,
and to encourage local Gambian contractors to venture into the construction
and maintenance of roads.
118. Regarding ongoing road projects, significant improvements
were registered in spite of numerous constraints. The Kombo Coastal
Roads Project has now been completed together with the first Phase of
the Serrekunda-Mandinaba Road Project. The funding for the second phase
of the project has already been secured from the Islamic Development
Bank and work is expected to re-start soon. Significant progress has
also been recorded on the 115 kilometre long Farafenni-Laminkoto road
being funded by the Kuwait Fund, BADEA and Gambia Government to the
tune of US$ 24 million. In 2004, work will commence on the Kerewan-Farafenni
road and, hopefully, on the delayed five roads, the European Commission
has pledged to finance (i.e. Barra-Amdalaye, Mandinaba-Selete, Soma-Basse,
Transgambia and Basse-Sabi roads). Work on the main Mandinaba-Soma road
is also expected to re-commence in 2004.
119. The serious threat posed by the advancing Ocean has now
been curtailed with the commencement of the Coastal Protection Project
being funded by the African Development Bank and The OPEC Fund. The
work has now reached an advanced stage and is to be completed in a record
time of seven months as opposed to the contract period of twelve months.
This is due to the 24hr work schedule of the contractor, and the mobilization
of additional equipment to sustain round the clock operations.
Mr. Speaker Sir,
120. The National Assembly Members are aware that The Gambia
Public Transport Corporation (GPTC) has been going through a very difficult
period following the transfer of Ferry Services, and also lack of spare
parts for the aging fleet of buses, as well as shortage of buses.
121. The donation of Eight Pegaso buses by His Excellency Dr.
Alh Yaya A.J.J. Jammeh in May 2003 opened the doors for further opportunities
to acquire 20 standard Pegaso and 11 Articulated Mercedes Benz buses
from TMB in Spain. The GPTC currently has a 98% nationwide coverage
with buses and there are plans to operate 24-hour service when the road
122. In 2004, the Corporation will be restructured in line with
its financial capability and current economic realities to reduce fixed
costs, while existing depots countrywide are to be rehabilitated to
better serve the travelling public. Financing for the 31 new buses was
provided from the corporation's funds, and a loan of D2.5 million was
secured from the Trust Bank to rejuvenate the aging fleet of TATA Buses.
123. The Corporation's performance this year shows a decrease
in revenue of 43.2% or D13.5 million, while operational costs also decreased
by 54.4% or D20.2 million. This was largely due to the hiving-off of
the ferry services from the GPTC, and the marked reduction in the Operational
fleet of buses due to old age.
124. The Gambia International Airline (GIA) continues to invest
in ground support equipment in order to deliver excellent service to
its customers. In this connection, the company spent D4.1 million in
2003 to purchase spares and a crew bus. The company plans to spend another
D25 million in 2004 to purchase additional Ground Handling equipment.
GIA has leased from Futura a B737-800 aircraft, and weekly flights to
London have already commenced. The Futura cooperation has enabled the
lease agreement to be structured in a way that would make the operation
sustainable due to its competitive terms. The company is also planning
to operate to the United States in 2004. The GIA Management is studying
a number of proposals, and weighing possible options in this regard.
Apart from royalty and handling income, Futura is helping GIA to acquire
its Air Operators Certificate (AOC), which is necessary for GIA to operate
its flights independently.
125. Meanwhile, GIA has received assistance from the British
High Commission in September, 2003, which provided an expert to train
its customer services staff in passenger profiling and document verification,
to enable them detect forged travel documents easily, as this stands
out as the biggest potential cost item for airlines operating to London.
126. The first phase of Banjul International Airport Improvement
Project is now completed. The airport is now equipped with modern aeronautical
and air traffic control equipment, a first class link road with dual
carriageway from the main highway and fitted with street lighting throughout.
A 640kva generator was commissioned as part of the July 22 celebrations
in 2003. The construction of the aircraft taxi way will soon commence
in line with the resurfacing of the runway. In addition, the expansion
of the apron to accommodate additional aircrafts that are commensurate
with the expected increase in traffic is also expected to take off in
127. Pursuant to improving the Port's operation and throughput
capacity, attracting new Shipping Lines, and improving ships' turn around
time, The Gambia Ports Authority procured and commissioned new Cargo
Handling Equipment in April 2003. These include 9 Terminal Tractors
and Trailers, a Mobile Harbour Crane with 40 MT lifting capacity and
6 Forklift Trucks valued at Euros 1 million, 1.40 million and 1.63 million
128. To improve the revenue generating capacity of the ferries,
The Gambia Ports Authority has not only procured 2 new Weighbridges
to be located at Essau and Bereto, but a D4.5 million contract has been
awarded to a local contractor to conduct works for the 2 new weighbridges
plus the rehabilitation of the weighbridge at Jenoi and Barra Ferry
terminals. These works have already commenced and will be completed
by February 2004.
129. The Gambia Ports Authority entered into a contract in 2002,
with Kiev Shipbuilding and Repair Yard of Ukraine (KSSRY) for the construction
and delivery of 3 Ferries valued at US$6.65 million. The ferries are
scheduled for delivery in mid 2004. In a bid to enhance efficiency and
productivity levels of Dockworkers, the Authority deemed it necessary
to reform the Dock Labour scheme. The reform proposal has now been forwarded
to the Government for consideration. The reform, amongst other things,
would enhance dockworkers' productivity; provide better pay, improve
conditions of service as well as medical and training incentives.
iv. Telecommunication, Information and Postal
Mr. Speaker Sir,
130. The opportunities provided by information and communication
technologies cannot be properly harnessed in the absence of proper policy
guidance, as well as an institutionalized legal and regulatory framework.
In this regard, the Department of State for Communication, Information
and Technology (DOSCIT) is in the process of formulating an Information,
Communication and Technology (ICT) policy to address emerging issues
in this dynamic sector. Assistance to this regard has already been secured
under ECA National Information and Communication Initiatives (NICI)
programme for Africa in order to develop a robust and cohesive national
programme. Moreover, under the framework of the African Information
Society Initiative, The Gambia was recently designated to become a model
for e-Government in Africa. This will improve effective public service
delivery and strengthen the economy's productive and social sectors
in their mission to reduce poverty and facilitate economic development.
131. Gamtel continues to honour the obligation to GRTS by providing
the annual subvention of D2 million whilst providing technical and financial
support to the Department of State for Communication, Information and
Technology. This year Gamtel signed a contract with Airspan for the
provision of Wireless Local Loop Systems, which will provide 2,000 lines
to 30 villages in the North Bank, Lower River and Upper River Divisions.
This project is to be completed by the end of December 2003. Another
contract was signed with Alcatel to upgrade the switches in Serrekunda,
Kotu and Bundung, and will create an additional 3,000 lines for Serrekunda
and its environs. All this form part of Gamtel's Global Expansion Project,
the aim of which is to create 230,000 lines over the next five years.
When completed, this will give the Gambia the highest telephone penetration
ratio in Africa of 1 telephone line for every 5 inhabitants, compared
to the existing ratio of 2.70 lines for every 100 inhabitants.
132. Gamtel's total expected Capital Expenditure for 2004 is
D1.67 billion, out of which D1.44 billion is expected to be external
financing, and the remaining D0.23 billion will be the company's funds.
For the year 2004, Gamtel will embark on further projects to expand
the network and provide more access to the telephone systems countrywide.
A contract was recently signed with Alcatel for Euros 28.9 million to
expand the switch to create 36,506 lines in the Grater Banjul Area and
8,448 lines in the Rural Areas. Gamcel has embarked on an expansion
policy to increase the capacity of the network to 120,000 lines and
38 radio sites including a new Intelligent Network Platform. The project
cost of over Euro 4.6 million and is expected to be complete by the
end of this year. Plans are underway to install a second switch with
an initial capacity of 60,000m in the fourth quarter of 2004 to cater
for the growing demands for cellular services. This will include 12
additional cell sites, most of which will be located in the rural areas
to complement Gamtel's efforts for improved rural communication.
133. In addition, Gamcel continues to expand internationally
by providing roaming facilities to its customers abroad through agreement
with 25 partners most of which are in Western Europe, Africa and North
America with an estimated 30 of these agreements planned for 2004.
134. Based on the satisfactory performance of the Gambia Post
Office (GPO) during the year following its transformation to a semi-autonomous
department, a Divestiture Task Force is currently working on a cabinet
paper for the Gambia Post Office GPO to become autonomous by April 2004.
135. The three-year Integrated Project signed with the universal
Postal Union has begun operations and besides vehicles, computers and
other office equipment to be received, managerial training for staff
has been successfully completed.
136. The Government Information Service Department has completed
a computerized photo library project with assistance from UNESCO, to
preserve and maintain photographs. The project was conceived to arrest
the fast deteriorating quality of photographs of historic value, collected
over a period of three decades, on account of poor storage condition.
Hence at present, old and new photographs are effectively preserved
in digital form, which can be retrieved easily for newspaper publication,
and made available to the public for a fee.
vi. Maintenance Services Agency (MSA)
137. During year 2003, the company stepped up its programme
of diversification into steel fabrication, hiring of trucks, plant and
equipment, the collection and sale of scrap metal, providing on the
job training for graduates of the NYSS, GTTI, President Award Scheme
and similar private institutions as well as specialized engineering
services to various Auto-Engineering Workshops throughout the country.
The company also carries out the testing of all tourist taxis for road-worthiness,
and have developed the capacity and infrastructure to conduct such tests
on all types of vehicles.
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