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Monday, July 22, 2024

The bill to increase the remuneration of judges should be rejected

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It can have a spillover effect on the other arms of Government: The Executive and the Legislative with devastated economic consequences. The Government is broke and cannot afford another round of salary increment.

The controversy surrounding the ‘Judicial Officers Renumeration Bill’ which aims to increase the salaries, allowances and pensionable benefits of judicial officers currently before the National Assembly, should be reviewed within the context of addressing the growing discrepancies within the government integrated pay scale for the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.

Table 1. Comparative analysis of the renumerations of the executive, the judiciary and the legislative

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table jud

The analysis shows that the top highest paid civil servant in the Gambia is the President with a fixed monthly salary of D255,000.00 without any allowances. Then followed by the Speaker with a total gross of D204,500.00 per month. The Chief Justice and the Supreme Court Judges are next in line with a gross of D189,655.00 and D149,500 respectively.

The Members of Parliament earning a total gross of D145,397.00 is more than the salary and allowances of the Vice President which is D124,147.00. This table show the discrepancies in the renumerations of the three arms of government.

Judges are paid robing allowance, telephone allowance, responsibility allowance, utilities allowance, house rent allowance event though most of them are staying in their own premises, and interestingly the state is also paying them for domestic maids. To all indications, the allowances paid to these judicial officers are more than adequate and comparable to those that judges in the subregion are getting.

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Like every other Gambian, this bill that is aim to rectify the disparity in the renumeration between the judiciary and comparable officials in the executive branch of government must be also include those nurses, teachers, security personnel, drivers, and others providing essential services to the community and are so poorly paid that they cannot even make any savings towards their retirement.

Increasing renumerations for judicial officers without doing the same for those at the top executive or the legislative could be counterproductive. Policies governing pensions and gratuity, health insurance, allowances and other benefits should be applicable to all public officials especially those at the middle or bottom of the civil services hierarchy and not only limited to judges.

What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander!

Morro Gaye

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