Minority leader of Gambia’s national assembly, Samba Jallow who is also a member of the parliamentary body that scrutinizes public officials and institutions, Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committee, said the topmost motivator of corruption in Gambia is low pay.
Gambia has no minimum wages and even though President Adama Barrow promised to enact a law to that effect, he hasn’t close to two years of his administration. And Jallow believes the low wages given to public officials continues to encourage corruption in public institutions.
“Low salary affects even the functions of the National Assembly as an institution that ensure public monies are well spent. Underpayment opens one to bribery. The salary is very low” Jallow went further to explain the pay scale of government and other public institutions and officials.
“Low salary scale is one of the key triggers of corruption in the civil and public service in The Gambia”.
In March 2017, the Gambian leader has promised his government will do anything within their means to increase salaries of government workers.
However, the government could only increase transport allowances, an adjustment that some economist say was ill-advised given the weaker economic growth the country experienced in the past five years.
“What national assembly member gets in Senegal is times higher than what we get in Gambia. Even Guinea Bissau’s national assembly member can pay Gambia’s national assembly member more than two times,” Jallow said.
Meanwhile, debate over government wages on social media has started last week after Barrow announced he was donating 10% of his salary to the implementation of his development. According to the country’s 2018 budget, Barrow earns 2, 040, 000 per annum, ten percent of which is 204, 000. The minority leader said $43, 257 annual salary with a dollar rate at D47 dalasi for the president is too small given the responsibility he shoulders.
And between the president and the vice president is a huge disparity. The vice president earns an annual salary of 562, 116 which is a monthly salary of D46, 843. With a dollar to dalasi rate at D47, this is a monthly salary of $993, 27 cents. The secretary general and head of civil service earns D29, 333 monthly. With a yearly earning of D351, 996 ($7, 463 annually), ministers earn D29, 333 monthly.
The permanent secretaries earn an annual salary of D180, 000 ($3, 816) which is D15, 000 monthly.
The deputy permanent secretaries earn D83, 189 ($1, 763) annually which is D6, 932 monthly.
The Chief Justice earns D483, 000 ($10, 241) annually which is a monthly salary of D43, 250.
The speaker of the National Assembly earns D412, 356 ($8, 743) annually with a monthly salary of D34, 363.
The deputy speaker earns a monthly salary of D18, 950, majority leader 18, 364 and the minority leader D15, 000.
Each of the three special advisers to the president approved in the 2018 budget earns D24, 666 monthly.
The executive directors earn D7, 220 a month while the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission gets D24, 082.
The bottom pay is nauseating. A cleaner gets D850 basic salary a month. A driver at the VP’s office earns D22, 724 annually which is $481.84. This is a monthly salary of D1,893.