Of course there is a new Minister of Finance. However, if the statement of the previous Minister of Finance is to go by salary increases which should have been part and parcel of the democratic dividend is inconceivable because of the rise in the indebtedness of the country.

Readers would recall that Gambians were earlier informed that staff audit was taking place which ultimately led to the identification of approximately 2700 ghost workers who have been removed from the government pay roll. The impression was given that this may enable government to increase salaries. The bitter truth however is that despite the removal of the ghost workers from the roll the total sum spent on basic salaries did not go down. On the contrary, it has increased by 6 percent.

Government must face up to the salary issue by seeking alternative sources of generating revenue. The National Assembly member for Serrekunda has called on the government to establish a government salary and pensions commission to look into the issue of low wages and pensions in order to look for remedies. Such remedies are expected to be components of the democratic dividends which should be the by-product of the investment made in bringing about democratic change in 2016.

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