Amidst reports that the management and staff members at the Central bank of the Gambia are set to increase (triple actually) their emoluments [the reports are yet to be confirmed though] the issue of having a minimum wage for workers both in the public and private sectors is set to receive a new impetus. Whether it will yield any fruits is something else altogether.
Reports have it that a recommendation to this effect was made but deemed to be ‘not sustainable’ by a section of the government. This is indeed worrying as in my view – which happens to be the view of many in the embattle civil and private service – even a minimum wage is not enough to bridge the gap (between rich and poor) and bring the poor working class even close to being satisfactorily paid. We view it as a first step towards making live better for the ordinary hard-working Gambians.
Thus, it is clear that government functionaries saying that it is not sustainable to increase salaries says that there is no political will to pull our people out of the quagmire they find themselves in. This would have been understandable if the gap in pay between the so-called CEOs, government ministers, directors, managers on the one hand, and the ordinary people on the other, wasn’t so glaringly wide.
Every country, company or corporation depends on its workforce – the ordinary workers in most cases – to succeed and make profits. But the capitalist system thrives on that, the exploitation of the poor and weak, for the advancement of the few on top. This is what we observe everywhere. It is seen in individual companies and corporations, it is seen in government departments, it is seen in international relations between nations and everywhere else. This is what leads to massive uprisings in various parts of the world and in various forms.
The time has come, Mr President, to think outside the box, so to speak, in order to come up with ways to not only increase the salaries of ordinary workers, but to massively reduce the cost of living: cost of food, education, transport, medical care and other things essential for a comfortable living.
This cannot be done solely on grants and loans from international donors, it must be from wealth generated within. We must find a way of fulfilling the needs of our people. This is the primary reason why we have governments in the first place. So, government should find a way of levelling the playing field and opening the country for business. Support the local industry and enable the citizens create the needed wealth to foot all the bills.
Have a Good Day Mr President…
Tha Scribbler Bah
A Concerned citizen