The Barrow administration said it cannot increase the salaries of civil servants this year citing a huge deficit in the budget.
Gambia received at least $56 million from the World Bank in budgetary aid but Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh said the deficit is in billions and the government is unable to accommodate it.
“There is a need but the means are not there to increase salaries. I made that very clear at the tabling of the revised budget at the National Assembly,” he said.
“We need to work very hard and ensure that the economy is buoyant to be able to increase salaries.”
Gambian civil servants are some of the least paid in the country. Many in the country earn less than $520 dollars a year and it makes corruption unavoidable.
But many senior government and high ranking officials with those junior staffers close to power enjoy high paying per diems, a tradition that many are calling for the government to do away it.
Gambia is unable to service its international debt and its domestic debt is greater than its GDP, according to the IMF and the World Bank.
The Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest and poorest nations, ranking 168th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 human development index.
Poverty widespread, pervasive and predominantly rural. Approximately three-quarters of the rural population is classified as poor.