By Omar Bah
The former National Assembly member for Wuli West has said the controversial D100, 000 clothing allowance given to MPs is unjustifiable and completely deviates from the country’s priority.
The allocation has attracted condemnations from many quarters but some NAMs have since defended it, describing it as very small compared to what other NAMs in the subregion are getting.
But Honourable Sidia Jatta exclusively told The Standard: “I was so much surprised when I heard about it and I did not believe it until I saw it in the press. Well, I know clothing allowance was allocated to judges and magistrates and that is for their uniform but for MPs, it is coming to me as a surprise because I don’t really understand why there should be an allowance for MPs.
“I don’t understand what is the essence of it when we are talking about difficulties getting money to do things in the interest of our people. Our health facilities are without drugs or ambulances and even where there is an ambulance, there is no fuel and many things that are supposed to be done are not done because of lack of money,” he said.
Jatta added: “Why should we be talking about clothing allowance for MPs? It is not justifiable. It sounds very funny to me to talk about clothing allowance for MPs because I have never heard about that anywhere and even if it does exist in other countries, maybe they can afford to give clothing allowance to MPs but we cannot. There are fundamental issues which are not addressed in this country because of lack of money.”
He said when he was at the National Assembly there was nothing like a D100, 000 clothing allowance for MPs.
“I learnt about it yesterday (Wednesday) but it was never an issue. At least, it was never raised in parliament as far as I know. I remember opposing the allowances given to NAMs but it was never about the clothing allowance,” Jatta said.