(JollofNews) – The Gambia, with its economy sliding into recession and budget deficit widening, will introduce some reduction in spending intended to reduce the government budget deficit.
The austerity measures will target overseas travels of government employees and their per diem payment.
Over the past years, senior civil servants who travel outside the country to attend conference receive up to £130 per diem while junior civil servants receive about £90 per diem.
As Gambian civil servants are among the least paid in the region and with the cost of living skyrocketing above their earnings, many senior civil servants have used foreign travels and conferences to top up their income.
But President President Jammeh has vowed to clampdown on corruption and abuse of the system. He said excessive overseas travel will now be a thing of the past for civil servants.
“From now on, we are going to restrict overseas travels of civil servants to the absolute necessary,” Mr Jammeh told civil servants in Kanilai.
Mr Jammeh who came to power in 1994 with the pledge to root out corruption, said his regime will no longer turn a blind to the abuse of the per diem system.
He added that he has come to realise that although the Code of Conduct of the Civil Service of the Gambia stipulates that civil servants should submit timely reports of their travels, many fail to submit reports on time and sometimes for months after returning to the country.
Mr Jammeh who is seeking reelection in December said he will fulfill every pledge he has made to Gambians. He added that despite the challenges, the Gambia will reach its economic super power status in the next ten years.
He added: “In a matter of months Gambia will not need those chicken change projects. I have got huge plans for the country but Gambians must work together and make the Gambia a pride of humanity. Being black does not mean we are cursed but we are all Allah’s creation.”
Mr Jammeh said many people have doubted him when he first came to power, but with the help and blessings of Allah, his regime has achieved a lot for Gambians including the provision of free medical care and free quality education.
While urging civil servants to serve the people honestly and with integrity, Mr Jammeh said while he regards all government employees as one big family, he would never tolerate a sleazy and lazy worker in the family.
“There is no worst evil than being corrupt and for you to continue being part of the family would depends on your performance,” he said.
“There would be serious consequences for people who steal from government project money at the detriment of Gambians. I have no friend or relative in my government except honest and hardworking public servants. All public servants are role models becuase Gambians are looking up to them and will follow their footsteps in doing well.”