By Tabora Bojang The National Assembly member for Banjul South Fatoumatta Njai has said government should first review salaries and defer the proposed 50% increment to ensure fair play within the civil service “ The poor income earner who is at the lower level of the ladder is not going to benefit from this so-called salary increment. There must be a total review so that whenever there is an increment it will definitely be felt by all,” Njai said during the assembly debate on the 2019 budget. She said a huge chunk of the 2019 budget goes to salary increment, which she said is a ‘mere propaganda by the govt’ as it will not directly benefit civil servants at the lower cadre of the scale. “This is not salary increment by nature but just a name, because if they increase your salary you move up the tax bracket and get taxed more and your disposable income becomes less. That cannot be called an increment of salary because it is only the people at the top who will go home with bonuses, allowances and incomes far better than the poor driver or the Grade 3 civil servants who are the majority”, she added. Hon. Njai said she could not see any capital expenditure on the budget as “most of it goes back to the pockets of the executive, which is wrong and unethical.” “A budget is to give opportunities to the citizens of the nation and to ensure effective protection of rights and fulfillment of the needs of the citizens to ensure they enjoy basic social services and affordable living expenses. Unfortunately, what I have seen in this budget is increment of taxes, which in turn will increase the commodities pre commercial rates, which will affect the cost of living of the poor people of this country-meaning burden on our poor electorate and ourselves,” she said. Njai observed that the budget of the office of the president has risen from D 5.1 to 9.6 million, over 80%, while that of the ministry of defense too moved 1.6 to 3.2 million which does not reflect the size of our army. According to the PPP parliamentarian, “the defense committee of the assembly is yet to receive any financial statement from the MOD and their budget is increased two fold.” “This budget is driving us into more poverty, and I am so disappointed with the finance minister who is highly exposed and experienced. I expected a lot more. Yes, we might have inherited a poor nation but that is the more reason why we have to be careful in our expenses,” she said.]]>
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