Saturday, February 4

Former Finance Minister Describes Emolument of Speaker As illogical

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By Kebba Ansu Manneh

Amadou Sanneh, Former Minister of Finance and Economics Affairs has condemned the increment of emoluments of the National Assembly members as an outrageous proposal meant to suffocate the Gambian people.

He described the hundred percent increment of the salary of the Speaker as ‘crazy, illogical and insensitive’ while comparing it to the current situation of the country.

The former finance minister made the remark to a local online television over the weekend saying the country may soon return to pre-2016 when the country can no longer secure loans from financial institutions due to the highly indebted nature of the country at the time.

“For the National Assembly to be responsible for making its budget should not be a license to slaughter the Gambians. If the National Assembly wants to take something that is not available in the budget, that shows the manifestation of greed and selfishness,’’ former finance minister Sanneh disclosed.

He added: “Am not sure the increment of emoluments of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Majority leader, and the Minority leader is a decision of the entire house because Touma Njie is against the increments. I don’t know who prepared their budget but it is insensitive and an outrageous proposal designed to suffocate the masses.”

The former finance minister also observed that looking at the dire conditions of the Gambian people increasing the salary of the Speaker from D658, 534,00 to D1, 560, 000.00 is unwarranted, arguing that increasing the speaker’s salary to more than 130 percent for the speaker is equally unjustifiable.

Describing the decision as disheartening Mr. Sanneh opined that the National Assembly Members are vested with the responsibility to scrutinize the government but instead decided to increase which he said is a betrayal to the entire nation and should be condemned by all genuine citizens.

According to him, the National Assembly Members have manifested their greed and selfishness in sharing the national cake to their advantage and was quick to add that instead they decided to slash the agriculture budget for their own selfishness.

“It is hard to comprehend why the National Assembly has to slash more than D100 million from the agriculture budget in a country where 75 percent of the population are farmers. Looking at the importance of the sector, slashing its budget and making more than 130 percent increment for the speaker is total insanity,’’ he added.

He continued: “There should be no increment for the National Assembly because, in 2020, they had a 50 percent increment, in 2021; they had a 30 percent increment including clothing allowances of D100, 000. Minimum National Assembly Members are getting D90, 000 per month, and instead of looking into the condition of the poor, and vulnerable Gambians grappling with inflation coupled with the dying situation of the  agriculture sector, and poor health services, it is sad for them to increase their emoluments.”

According to him, the government of President Adama Barrow is only accumulating more debt to the country at an unbearable rate, noting that if care is not taken the country will go back to pre-2017 when the country can no longer secure loans from international financial institutions due to the highly indebted nature of the country at the time.