By Musa Bah According to the Daily News edition of Monday 17 December, a host of government officials – past and present – are still holding on to a lot of government funds amounting to over twenty-six million dalasis which was given to them as imprest. This information is according to the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Mambury Njie. He revealed this in response to a question from one of the National Assembly Members. This, for me, represents not only the height of financial malpractice and indiscipline but also gross negligence of duty on the part of the governments – both past and present. It is a total disregard of the reason citizens voted the government into office. The citizens voted for the government to manage the funds of the nation and ensure that they serve the Gambian people. It is therefore a clear example of dereliction of duty for the government to sit and do nothing about this huge amount of money. The interesting thing is that some of the amounts owed date back to as far back as 2009. What on earth is the government doing to ensure that those funds are retrieved – or their expenditure explained? Granted, one may say that most of it is as a result of the policies of the former government for which we ultimately defenestrated them; but since coming to office, and having access to this information, we have not seen any action taken by the current administration to make sure that those anomalies are rectified. If the current government continues to sit on its hands and do nothing, then they are equally culpable in this case, if not more so. Just saying it at the National Assembly and having it published on the local newspapers means nothing absolutely if further action is not taken. This is very annoying indeed and shows the citizenry that the government does not care much about the welfare of its people. We have live in abject poverty and want for the past fifty-three years. The cost of living is still very high and many cannot even afford the three square meals. The education sector is in shambles and the hospitals are virtually buildings without any medicines and equipment to treat our sick. Thus, seeing that such huge amounts are still in the hands of individuals and nothing is being done about it is a mockery of good governance. To add salt to injury, this government is using this year’s budget to increase the wealth of the rich, the governors themselves mainly, to detriment of the ordinary working class. The fifty percent salary increment across the board is unreasonable. Not that the ordinary working class does not need a salary increment – they do indeed – it is the governors who do not need this increment. For instance, the salary of the president will now stand at D255,000 a month. Similar increments will also go to the ministers and permanent secretaries. These officials do not stand in need of such a raise. If you want to improve the lot of ordinary folks, then the increment should have been according to scales. If someone was earning a little, increase their salary may be by seventy-five percent even. That would have made sense but not just fifty percent across the board. Have a nice day Mr President.]]>
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By Omar Bah Veteran politician and former minister in both the Jawara and Barrow governments Omar Jallow (OJ), has advised the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations...
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