NAMs Speak On D100,000 Clothing Allowance

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By: Hadram Hydara

Hon. Madi Ceesay and Hon. Alieu Baldeh, National Assembly Members of Serrekunda West and Jarra West respectively have reacted to recent claims that NAMs have only been enriching themselves in Parliament instead of passing relevant bills and checkmating the executive.

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This comes after NAMs were allocated a one-off hundred thousand dalasis (D100,000) as clothing allowance for the next five years and a one million dalasis (D1,000,000) vehicle loan of which, fifty per cent would be paid by the Assembly and the other half from the salaries of the NAMs.

Speaking to the Fatu Network about these claims, Hon. Madi Ceesay, National Assembly Member for Serrekunda West Constituency said that other sectors of the government are receiving equivalent to, if not more than a D100,000.

“There are other sectors of government that are receiving equivalent to (D100,000) or even more but not many people are talking about that. The National Assembly is one institution that does not keep things to its chest. NAMs put everything on the table for everybody to see and form their opinions about it.”

Pressed on whether the amount is too little or too much as many citizens are saying, the second-termed parliamentarian would not be drawn on the right amount saying “it is neither too little nor too much.” However, responding to the debate on social media about the amount being too much for a clothing allowance for NAMs and instead focus should be on trying to improve the living conditions of citizens, Honourable Madi said even prior to NAMs being given these allowances, there has been skyrocketing of prices of goods for the last five years.

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“This amount is part of a budget of an institution that is equally like any other institution in the country so unless if one wants to tell me that you want to slice all the budget lines and pumped it into other ministries’ budget lines. How could NAMs allowance take care of bringing down the cost of basic commodities? It could be possible but I don’t know how.  I think there are other means of doing that like there can be legislation to stabilise prices where the government can come in if the prices have gone up within a set period. But even prior to the D100,000 clothing allowances, has there not been a skyrocketing of basic commodities in the last five years when this allowance was not institutionalised?”

Speaking further on the D100,00 clothing allowance and the general earnings of the National Assembly Members, the Serrekunda West NAM urged people to look beyond the shores of the Gambia and make some comparisons with NAMs of neighbouring countries.

“If you go to other countries, especially our neighbours Senegal, are far more paid than us. Go to Kenya, they are the highest or among the highest-paid NAMs in the world and go to Guinea Bissau, so these are things that perhaps are new to Gambians but that is the beauty of democracy, people can always express their opinions and that is it.”

Also speaking to Fatu Network on the same issue, NPP’s National Assembly Member for Jarra West, Honourable Alieu Baldeh redirected the focus to breaking down the amount into a monthly payment.

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“All I know is that it is for five years and not monthly or yearly so if you do the Maths properly you would see it is 1,666 Dalasis per month.”

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