28 December 2012

Gambia: Understanding the Budget - Basic Salaries for Hand-to-Mouth Living

The amount to be spent on debts is 1.7 billion dalasi. This is more than twice the sum spent on basic salaries.

In 2011, the amount spent on basic salaries was D753, 379,000, approximately Seven hundred and fifty three Million dalasi. In 2012, the sum spent on basic salaries was D778, 130,000, approximately Seven hundred and seventy eight Million dalasi. In 2012, the sum to be spent on salaries amounts to D833, 561,000 approximately Eight hundred and thirty three Million dalasi.

This means that there is no significant increase in salaries. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is reported to have received the largest chunk of the budget, apart from debt service. However, in the area of administration, Directors are on grade 10 and earn D6000 monthly as basic salary; Principals are on grade 10 and earn approximately 5000 dalasi as basic salary. Many Headmasters and Mistresses are on grade 9 and are earning less than 5000 dalasi as basic salary.

A bag of good quality rice is now 1,300 dalasi. The use of 150 dalasi daily on food would amount to 4,500 dalasi per month. Hence, a bag of rice and fish money daily would consume the basic salary of a Director at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.

We have to find out where the money in the budget is going before one could fully understand whether quality of services and lives would be improved or not. If top rankers receive hand to mouth salaries what about those at the lower ranks.

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