Case Study

Examining Budget Credibility in The Gambia’s Agriculture Sector

Budget credibility refers to the ability of a government to meet its expenditure and revenue targets during the year. A government’s budget credibility can be determined by the difference between its approved budget and actual expenditure and revenue in a fiscal year. Budget credibility guarantees the continuity of public development programs and serves as a tool to monitor the capability of public institutions to efficiently implement their budgeted programs. 

More than 60 percent of the Gambian populace depend on agricultural crop production for sustenance, and a greater proportion of this population are citizens from poor settlements. Based on the Zero Hunger strategic review by the World Food Programme, The Gambia can only meet 50 percent of its population’s food needs, whereas the other half depends on food products imported from other countries. Moreover, the agricultural sector is largely dependent on manual labor and rainfall. One out of every three Gambian citizens is food insecure, and more than half of the population cannot meet the daily required minimum Kilocalorie (Kcal) intake for a single individual, which is 2400 Kcal (World Food Programme, 2019). Agriculture is considered the “backbone” of The Gambia’s economy. However, the growth of the sector has been inconsistent, thus posing socio-economic risks. The Gambia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) manages one of the critical sectors that continues to experience budget credibility issues. For example, between 2018 and 2020, the average budget deviation by the MoA was 33 percent, which means the ministry underspent its budget by one-third from 2018 to 2020. The overall purpose of this brief is to analyze the MoA’s budget credibility trend from 2017 to 2021, its impact on agricultural sector outcomes, and the causes of expenditure deviations in the sector. The study uses a mixed method approach, including document reviews (budget statements, the macro fiscal template, and expenditure briefs prepared by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA), semi-structured interviews and key informant interviews with officials of the MoFEA’s Directorate of Budget and MoA’s Department of Planning. The fiscal data used in this brief are derived from the Government Local Fund.

This publication is a part of Exploring the Connections between Budget Credibility and SDG Implementation.

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