The Gambia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Sanneh, has announced the government’s plan to sell four aircraft obtained at the time of the government of former President Yahya Jammeh.The Minister made the announcement to lawmakers, when he presented the revised 2017 draft estimates of revenue and expenditure (the revised national budget) of the Gambia government, to the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday.
Selling the planes, which are believed to be parked at Banjul International Airport, and four landed properties situated in the Tourism Development Area, before the end of this year, is expected to generate D471 million (more than $10 million) which would be put in state coffers to address the economic challenges the new government inherited from Jammeh’s 22-year rule.
There is a need to revise the budget by reducing the estimated expenditure in the original 2017 budget prepared in 2016 by the former government, and the new government will manage with the funds which become available up to the end of this year, Sanneh further told the country’s lawmakers.
Consequently, Minister Sanneh called for financial discipline in the public sector, citing the civil servants’ use of government vehicles, for example, as the state needs to cut down on fuel supply expenditure, according to his statement.
Meanwhile, he went on, the government through the Finance Ministry in Banjul has asked for help from the Stolen Assets Recovery Unit of the World Bank, to recover the allegedly stolen wealth under the former government.
Ex-President Jammeh was accused of withdrawing millions of dollars from the state coffers, and has since left the country for Equatorial Guinea where he is now living in exile.
The new government under President Adama Barrow has since frozen all his known assets, including 131 landed properties dotted throughout the country, as investigations into his alleged criminal and economic crimes continue.