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Salary increment for only ministers unfair - Minority Leader

Dec 9, 2015, 10:32 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Hon. Samba Jallow, National Assembly member for Niamina Dankunku and the minority leader, Tuesday told the Speaker and members of the National Assembly that the salary increment for only ministers indicated in the 2016 budget “is totally unfair”.

He expressed concern about the low income earners who could not even buy a bag of rice at the end of the month, saying the indicative salary increment “should not be specific, but it has to be across the board”.

The minority leader was speaking on Tuesday at the National Assembly, during the adjournment debate on the estimates of revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year 2016.

The budget estimates was delivered last week by the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs before the Assembly in Banjul.

Hon. Jallow further told fellow deputies that the expenditure level by the government was too high, adding that “we should minimize our expenditures, if not things would continue to get worse”.

Last year, there was low rainfall although production was good, he said, adding that the government, however, “failed to take decisions” that would help the farmers and to let the farmers know the price of their groundnuts.

“It is illegal to spend more than what is budgeted for,” Hon. Jallow said. “The Gambia is in a debt crisis, and we don’t talk about external debts. We also don’t control the way we spend our budget,” he continued.

The Niamina Dankunku assembly member added that “the economic situation of the country is getting worse, and The Gambia being a tax-based economy; most of the small businesses are closing down”.

The minority leader went on: “Government needs to invest a lot in agriculture; if not it would be very difficult for the agriculture sector to develop in the country, because every now and then Agriculture ministers are changed.”

Speaking about the “meet-the-farmers’ tour”, Hon Jallow said “the tour was very expensive” looking at the vehicles, including the fuel that they would use.

He also said the printing machine for national ID cards is another problem the government is grappling with, as its inoperativeness had made the issuing of ID cards a problem in the country.

“As regards the mining sector,” the minority leader also said, “this is also a revenue earning source, but it could not be found in the budget.”