By: Ousman Saidykhan
Hon. Fatoumatta Touma Njie, the national assembly member for Banjul South, on Thursday 24th November 2022 asked her colleague parliamentarians to reject 2023 budget estimate which indicates salaries increase for lawmakers.
The 2023 estimated budget indicates a total of D36,715,057. 95 from D27,788,736.00 approved in 2022 budget for National Assembly Services. This means the estimate is seeking an addition of D8,926,321 on the 2022 approved one and this amount excludes their allowances.
“I feel ashamed to call myself an honourable member. I gave myself for service. I did not give myself for poor people to feed me and my family. When I saw this, I felt embarrassed. I did not want to come to this budget session because I said to myself there is no need – because we are just sharing the cake in our pocket, going home feeding ourselves.”
“Even if I go to the Constitution, it says that; we shouldn’t deliberately enrich ourselves. And increasing our salaries is deliberately enriching ourselves and that is an embarrassment. I think as a National Assembly, we should not accept any salary increment,” Hon. Fatoumatta Touma Njie said at the budget session.
The 2023 estimated budget gives the Speaker D1,560,000 from D658,534.00 in 2022 (D901,466 addition); the Deputy Speaker D716,430 from D551,100 in 2022 (D165,330 addition) and the National Assembly Members D32,448,000 from D24,960,000 in 2022 (D7,448,000 addition), excluding the majority and minority leaders whose annual salaries as indicated by the estimate would be D702, 718 from D540,552 and D510,000 in 2023 respectively.
“Not only that, but to see the responsibility allowance, residential allowance, the robbing allowance and all those for the representatives of the people. It is embarrassing, for me to go back to my poor constituency and tell them that the meagre resources of this country – I’m paid that much at your expense. I took an oath to serve and to give back to my society – not to enrich myself,” Hon. Njie said.