The economic condition of a country is said to be good if and when the labour force has a fairly high (standard) spending power. This can only happen when there is a good salary scale; where the workers will receive an emolument that can make them live a comfortable, if not luxurious, life.
For far too long, the Gambian worker has remained in the lowest rung of pay scales in the sub-region and was worse off due to the very low salary scale. The Gambian worker is the poorest in the sub-region and has not been able to move from that level up till now.
With the change of government in late January, everyone expected a quick fix, and a salary increment. The Coalition promised that they will revise the pay scale and as such, people were expectant and hoped for the solution to come quickly.
However, Gambians are also aware of the level of damage done to our economy by the policies of the previous government. As a result, the New Government is compelled to put in place austerity measures which have – and will continue to – force citizens to live a hard life.
The pronouncement of the minister of Finance therefore that salaries cannot be increased/revised, this year was not a surprise to many though it was received with a tinge of disappointment. However, it is hoped that the government will not push this issue under the rug, but will make it a priority in the next budget. Gambian workers have suffered for far too long with a minimum wage.
It is hoped therefore that the government will not only revise salaries of public servants but will also introduce a minimum wage so that those in the private sector will also fare better!