By: Nyima Sillah
One-time budget manager at the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) Momodou Sabally has contended that to cater to a former president as a sitting president doesn’t make any economic sense.
Mr. Sabally, also the campaign manager for the UDP, told The Voice that the provision of soft-landing for ex-presidents is a step in the right direction but queried whether the amount of money proposed in the Former President Bill is sustainable and appropriate.
“I believe we should improve on that on all fronts but to maintain former presidents at the cost of catering for a sitting President… that does not make economic sense to me. We cannot compensate a former president at the rate of a sitting president. I don’t think that is appropriate,” the former CBG budget director asserted.
He described as commendable the idea of providing a comfortable life for former presidents, adding that the intent of the bill is good for the democratic process.
“The question is whether the amounts proposed in the current bill are appropriate and sustainable,” he quickly added.
The erstwhile budget director opined that the amounts proposed in the current bill need to be slashed to a “reasonable” proportion, saying the country is currently bedeviled by chronic budget deficits and a dearth of job opportunities for youths.
“We can provide dignified and comfortable retirements for our former presidents without being wasteful in the process. Perhaps, we should seek to attain the Quranic model, which teaches us moderation in Verse 26 of Surah Isra: “And give the relative his right and also the poor, and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully,” Sabally told The Voice when contacted for comment.