November 4, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Director-General in the Ministry of Defense has disclosed that as at March this year, when he took over, the ministry’s debt portfolio was in the region of Le1.5trillion.
According to Mohamed Brima Daboh, even if ten years of capital expenditure is dedicated to servicing those debts, there will be no success.
He said they are aware that the current debt burden, which the ministry is a subset of, is a national problem and a serious challenge.
“The rational thing to do perhaps is for the finance ministry to take those liabilities and treat as public debts and that could be a sure way of doing it,” he urged during the bilateral budget discussions.
On the budget ceiling giving to them, Mr. Daboh stated that if the current ceiling of Le100.8bilion is allowed to stand, they might not be able to make provisions for key things for instance for the full calendar period.
He said they will only be able to buy rice for only eight months and that will be the same for drugs and fuel.
“Perhaps, we might pay for ration cash allowance and few other mundane requirements. For those things that will significantly impact on force capability and efficiency, we might not be able to cater for them,” he noted.
According to him, if the alternate budget of Le 175billion which they prepared is adopted, they will be able to pay for drugs and fuel as well as purchasing rice for a whole year.
He however, opined that the aforementioned budget does not include high-tech capital expenditure as they are mindful of the current situation.
He spoke about the challenge they are facing in accessing allocated funds and noted that they have not been able to access up to 50% of their total recurrent budget for this year.
Principal Accountant, Brima K. Kamara said some of their debt liabilities are more than six to seven years old, adding, “The total debt denominated in dollars is $159.7million and the leones is Le24.85 billion. It is the wish or rather intention of the ministry if these debts can be taken over as public debts so that we can start on a clean slate.”