12 February 2013

Gambia: The Need for Salary Review in the Gambia

The Government in particular and the Private sector operators in general have to come to the realisation that cost of living has gone far beyond the earning capacity of their employees. Foroyaa is no exception. We are all in it together. There must be a determined effort by all those who hire labour to look into the profitability of public and private enterprises if a minimum salary is introduced and pegged at what is needed to feed a family of four, mother father and two children.

It is very clear that the country is being drained of brain power because of the inability to feed a family on a salary of between 900 Dalasi to 5000 Dalasi monthly. A bag of rice which is between 900 Dalasi and 1300 Dalasi is likely to consume the whole salary of the lowest paid and more than a fifth of the salary of middle income earners.

The problem with the Public sector is that it has a narrow tax base to raise revenue. Public enterprises are not even able to generate enough profit to pay dividends to government. Hence they are not providing the income necessary to upkeep their staff at the middle income level.

The Private sector also has suffered from diminished economics of scale. The re-export trade is suffering because of the growing instability in the Sub region. Goods have been imported from Asia but cannot be consumed by the small Gambian population. Profit margins are small and demands for commodities and services are not as robust as before. It goes without saying that the cost of living of people in the high income bracket has gone up. 1000 Dalasi fuel consumption a day amounts to just 20 litres. This would consume 30000 Dalasi a month. Generators for air conditioned homes would consume as much. New four wheel drives cost between the regions of D800,000 to D1,000,000.00 . Hence to live a high class life style makes it difficult to accumulate profit for reinvestments.

This is why businesses are contracting and to cut down on cost, branches of businesses are being closed down. Cost is being reduced by eliminating offices and overheads. Many are moving away from value added enterprises which consume raw material and labour to acquire rental properties which could be managed without employees.

Employment is therefore becoming very difficult to find and nurses and other professionals are struggling to leave the country in search of greener pastures abroad. It is not sufficient to give lectures on the dangers of illegal migration. It is important to note the problems of the people, especially the youth and try to address them

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