Fact-Check Update: MoFEA Confirms Darboe’s D110 Billion Public Debt Concern

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT (Updated: 15 April, 2024 @ 12:56pm)

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) held a press conference on Friday 12th April 2024 confirming that the National Debt increased to D110.6 billion.

This confirms that a claim made earlier in 2024 by the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party, Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP), that Gambia’s debt has increased under the Barrow administration.

Source: A screengrab of Public Debt Stock from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs’ 2023 Fiscal Year Economic Brief

During Lawyer Darboe’s 2024 New Year address, he raised concerns that “Yahya Jammeh with all his madness in 22 years left us with a National Debt of D40 Billion, while President Barrow who claims, to be a man of austerity, who claims to be a man to clamp down on excess wastages, has increased our debt by D62 Billion in seven years and this, of course, has brought our National Debt to a global figure of D110 Billion”.

The new information published by the MoFEA proves that the UDP Leader’s statement was accurate and factual and not “misleading” as earlier indicated by a fact-check we published on March 26, 2024 which was shared here, here and here.

Verdict: Given the latest publicly available information provided by MoFEA on the country’s National Debt, UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe’s claim that the National Debt increased to D110 Billion back in January 2024 is TRUE.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:

In a fact-check published by Fact-Check Gambia on March 26, 2024 with the headline: President Barrow’s Govt Increased the National Debt to D110 Billion in Seven Years? (seen photo above), the claim by Darboe that the national debt increased to D110 billion was deemed “misleading” based on the latest available and publicly accessible official data from MoFEA’s Debt Bulletin of Quarter 3 of 2023.

Our reporter visited the MoFEA back in March 2024 to ascertain the country’s National Debt at the end of 2023. In response, he was informed that the National Debt will be published online by the end of March 2024. Our reporter was directed to access Public Debt data on the MoFEA’s online portal.

After accessing the 2023 Third Quarter Public Debt Bulletin, a Fact-check was published concluded that the National Debt had increased to D107.5 billion and not D110 Billion as stated by Darboe. This conclusion was accurate at the time of publication based on the latest publicly available official data.

To give further context, a timeline below details the availability of information used for the publications.

  1. UDP’s Darboe claims National Debt increased to D110 Billion – 4th January, 2024
  2. Fact-check published highlighting 2023 Q3 Debt Bulletin states that National Debt increased to D107.5 billion – 26th March, 2024
  3. MoFEA publishes New Data stating that the National Debt Increased to D110 Billion – 12th April, 2024

In fact-checking, fact-checkers rely mostly on publicly available information and for transparency purposes explain how the data was collected, and where it can be found. When data is not publicly available, efforts are made to interview those with knowledge and in possession of such information or to get the information directly from them in whatever form it exist. We found the Ministry of Finance unhelpful in our quest to get the latest and most accurate data available.

Find a bit of analysis on how that conclusion was reached:

Data Sources: Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA)

  • End of 2016 Public Debt: 2017-2020 Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy
  • End of 2017 Public Debt: 2017 Annual Dent Bulletin
  • End of 2021 Public Debt: 2021 Annual Debt Bulletin
  • End of September 2023 Pubic Debt Figures: 2023 Sep Annual Debt Bulletin

Variance Analysis: Table 1 – Variance Analysis

DescriptionMoFEADarboeDifference% Difference
22 Years of President Jammeh (End of 2016)49.6340-9.63-19.40%
7 Years of President Barrow (End of 2023)107.51102.52.33%
Increase in Public Debt (2016 to 2023)57.87624.137.14%
 Figures in Billions of GMD

 

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