The Senegalese government recently presented the draft budget for 2024 to the National Assembly, setting the stage for a budgetary journey fraught with uncertainty and trepidation. With a staggering allocation of 7003 billion CFA francs, surpassing the 2023 budget of 6411 billion, the budget adoption process revealed a divided stance among lawmakers, as 90 MPs supported it, 32 opposed it, and 10 abstained.
Crucial Insights into the Draft 2024 Budget
Diving into the intricacies of the proposed budget, the document outlines a total general budget revenue of FCFA 4,693.7 billion, contrasting with FCFA 3,919.5 billion in 2023. General budget expenditure is estimated at CFAF 5,533.9 billion, reflecting an increase from CFAF 4,965 billion in the previous year. The Treasury’s special accounts maintain equilibrium at CFAF 221.5 billion. Anticipating a budget deficit of approximately CFAF 840.2 billion, equivalent to 3.9% of GDP in 2024, the government aims to finance this deficit primarily through loans and public securities issued on regional and international financial markets.
Doubts Cast on Budget Accuracy: Unraveling the Skepticism under Article 32
The cornerstone of budget accuracy, as outlined in Article 32 of the Organic Law of Public Finance (LOLF), faces scrutiny in the wake of the 2024 budget unveiling. The figures presented by the Minister of Finance and Budget come under question, prompting concerns about their sincerity. Elhadj Amadou Samb, Country Manager of the NGO BudgIT Senegal, challenges the lack of a rectifying finance law for 2023 and questions the transparency surrounding the postponement of oil and gas production until 2024. Similar sentiments are echoed by Birahim Seck, National Coordinator of the Forum Civil, and former Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye, who deem the budget a disaster due to discrepancies in the GDP base and growth rate projections.
Presidential Elections and the Impending Government Transition
With the looming presidential elections on February 24, 2024, and President Macky Sall opting not to seek re-election, a significant governmental transition is on the horizon. The 2024 budget, intricately tied to the “Emerging Senegal Plan” (PSE) and other pivotal programs, prompts questions about its implementation under the next administration. The likelihood of the PSE continuation hinges on the election outcome, with opposition candidates expressing steadfast opposition to the current governance.
This transitional scenario heightens concerns among Senegalese citizens about the security of their budget management. The need for vigilance is emphasized, particularly among civil society and the media, as the NGO BudgIT Senegal diligently follows the budget process through its voting phase in the National Assembly, staying true to its mission of fostering transparency and citizen engagement.