Mr Samba Jallow of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said according to the result of the Integrated Household Survey (IHS), the unemployment rate for the population aged 15 – 64 is 22 per cent but 5 per cent of the surveyed population did not report on their employment status. Employment rate for the same age group is 73 per cent.
However, he pointed out that 40 per cent of all those who are employed do not earn enough to pull themselves and their families above the poverty line of $1.25 per day. The working-poor is higher for the population aged 15 – 24 and lowest for the population aged 30 to 34 with 49 per cent and 35 per cent living respectively on less than $1.25 per day.
During the 2011 May Day (Workers Day) celebration in the country, The Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC) has called on the government to increase salaries and wages “without inflation on price commodities”, but this called is not heeded by the government authorities.
The IHS survey shows that the proportion of the population employed in the agriculture sector, the largest employment sector, is 44 per cent with 60 per cent being females and males accounting for the remaining 40 per cent.
The Gambia’s former Minister of Trade and Employment, Baboucarr HM Jallow, has once noted that the issue of acute unemployment has great consequences in the drive towards reducing poverty in the country.
The latest report of the International Monetary Fund on The Gambia has revealed that majority of Gambia’s 1.8 million people still lives in poverty despite “robust economic growth” over the years. The latest survey on the country’s poverty situation states that the 58 per cent of the population lives in poverty.
However, with the full implementation of the government’s recently launched Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), Gambia national development plan for the period 2012-2015, the poverty situation is expected to at least reduced.
Despite such initiative, unemployment and underemployment still persist in the country in as more and more people graduate from the senior secondary schools, university and college to enter the already-saturated job market.