By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
At least some 98 nurses working at Bansang Hospital, a town in the Central River Region of The Gambia have allegedly not been paid their COVID-19 allowances, they told National Telegraph, early Monday August 17, 2020, they were irked by the matter.
According to staff working at the hospital, the nurses who are working in the maternity ward, female, and children wings have not received their allowances.
“For us (nurses), we were very surprised why we have been sidelined in the payment of the COVID-19 allowances disbursed at the hospital. At least ninety-eight nurses have not been paid while senior managers, ward in-charges, orderlies, and staff of the accident and emergency were all paid,” a source who preferred anonymity told National Telegraph.
The source furthered that they only came to know of it when they showed up at the payment center, only to be told by Trust Bank officials that they are not part of the payments list.
Some of the nurses said that the management told them they are not included in the list of payments to be allocated to the hospital staff by the Ministry of Health noting that orderlies were paid approximately $300,00 while staff at the Accident and Emergency received about $400,00.
“We are very disappointed with the management because instead of helping us to get our money, they were encouraging us to take loans from accounts. This is very unfair on our part and we are still demanding an explanation from both the management of the hospital and the Ministry of Health,” the nurses complained.
This is the second time COVID-19 allowance is paid and nurses are not considered, another nurse said, adding it is very discriminatory. “I must say that I am totally disappointed in the administration of the hospital as to the way the disbursements of the COVID-19 allowances were done, she said.
The Gambian government has been receiving COVID-19 funds from the European Union, The International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank to help provide basic COVID-19 needs including medical services and disbursement allocated to the front liners.
But with the sudden rise of the Coronavirus cases in the country, the Ministry of Finance through its COVID-19 impact assessment hinted that The Gambia may experience a $57,915,057.92 (D3 Billion) revenue decline if the pandemic is not drastically subdue towards the end of the year.
“The decline in economic growth is estimated to emanate from trade remittances, construction, hotels and restaurants. Initial assessment indicate growth in the service sector will decline from 3.5% initially estimated to 0.6% with tourism, hotels, and restaurants estimated to contract by at least 19.5% from the 4.5% initially projected, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs said.
Mambury Njie in a report submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval by the legislature in the Supplementary Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2020, also said the sector tourism with the largest contribution to the GDP, approximately 20% in 2019, its contraction will also substantially affect our growth prospects
The focus of the bill, according to Njie, is to cater to costs arising from the need to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other essential and budgetary needs directly linked to the outbreak.