Gambian workers are worried! Their salary for the month of January, has been cut to half by the repressive regime of dictator Yahya Jammeh. The recent pay cut affects the entire government workforce. The government says there is no adequate funds to cater for workers’ salaries. It has resorted to making piecemeal salary payments. Many workers are the least pleased with the government’s inability to pay them their hard earned salary.
The dire economic situation is worrisome. Gambia is largely a tax based economy. The private sector, which is the main engine of national economic growth is virtually dead. The appalling state of affairs of the declining private sector can be attributed largely due to the dictator’s bad economic policies. Instead of allowing the private sector to excel, Jammeh has crippled this vital sector by hijacking it. Jammeh owns almost ninety percent of the economy. He evades taxes. The Gambia Revenue Authority often write-off taxes for businesses associated with Jammeh.
Now Gambian Civil Servants are complaining that they have noticed some pay cut in their January salaries. Well this is just the beginning. Workers would be very lucky if they get paid in the month of February. The government’s coffers have dried up!
It is imperative to note that the GRA’s revenue collection rate has declined tremendously in recent months. The revenue collection decline is due to lack of viable businesses in the country. Folks, keep in mind that monies collected by the GRA is normally used to pay salaries.
Now the million dollar question is: How does dictator Jammeh expect these poor Gambian workers to pay their rent and feed their families on a piecemeal salary? That’s practically impossible. The Jammeh government should either pay the workers in full or let them go. It is grossly unfair to cut workers pay under such horrible and precarious economic meltdown.
The year 2016 is an electioneering year for The Gambia. Justifiably, dictator Jammeh, has legitimate reasons to be worried. The quickest way for Jammeh’s imminent fall is; for example, if his government is unable to maintain an organized workforce. In that maintaining a functional workforce requires: Paying salaries on time; uplifting the morale of the workers; ensuring that the members of the armed and security forces are well taken care of; a reliable health delivery sector; affordable transportation system; ffordable cost of living, just to name a few.
Based on the feedback we are receiving from the aggrieved Gambian workers, dictator Jammeh has lost the respect, trust, and admiration of his workforce. They said Jammeh has abdicated his duties and responsibilities as the “leader” of this country. That Jammeh is not responsive to the plight of the workers. If he does, he wouldn’t have allowed a situation of such nature to arise in the first place.
Jammeh’s own Cabinet Ministers are dissatisfied with the status quo. The military too are the least pleased with their Commander-in-Chief.
“With all his big mouth of developing The Gambia as a City State, he couldn’t pay salaries for the month of January. We have all been compelled to take a pay cut. Jammeh has not taken a pay cut and yet he wants us to take a pay cut. That’s hypocritical. There is no functional government here. Jammeh is just fooling himself. This government should be declared closed,” said a Cabinet Minister.
“I met Jammeh few days ago. He told us that he is going to embark on drastic job cuts in coming weeks. No one here is comfortable. This man is insane. Despite being in government for over twenty years, Jammeh is acting like an ignoramus despot. He is a maroon. He is creating all these positions and he knows for a fact that there is no money in this country. Don’t be surprised if he fires Finance Minister Colley just to appease us (the workers),” he added.
According to a top Gambian law enforcement officer, the salary cuts have caused panic in the government. The officer told the Freedom Newspaper that if the current trend continues many security officers will desert.
“Everyone here is complaining. There is no justification for the salary cuts. Many security officers are contemplating leaving the country. What is the point of serving a government, which is unable to fulfill its mandate to her people? I, for one, will quit soon. I cannot take this BS from Jammeh,” said one of the security chiefs.
Meanwhile, The Central Bank of The Gambia has closed some Insurance Firms due to equity issues. The Bank says some of the Insurance Firms failed to meet its operational guidelines. The Central Bank is legally mandated to move in and close banks and financial institutions, which are at the brink of bankruptcy.
The local banks in the country are also faced with cash issues. The government has bankrupted some of the banks. The regime hardly service (pays) some of the loans it had taken from the private banks. Some of these banks are on the verge of being declared insolvent. But since the government is responsible for the collapse of these banks, it would be hard for the Central Bank to declare the banks involvement.
“The Central Bank itself is cash trapped. Our external reserves are low. The country’s import cover too is at its lowest ebb. Another Greece situation is likely to hit The Gambia. We will wake up one morning and hear that the Central Bank of The Gambia has closed. Gambia’s future is bleak under Yahya Jammeh’s watch. He is running the country as a family enterprise,” said one Central Bank insider.
Finally, under the circumstances, Gambian workers should consider embarking on a sit-down strike. No salaries, no work! Period. We rest our case!