Dennis Bright – Chairman and National Leader, NGC: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 April 2022:
The analysis in this report is in support of the legitimate demands of our teachers in Sierra Leone who are calling for an increase in their earnings and improvement in their living conditions. Since the beginning of the Maada Bio administration in 2018, the NGC has been constantly warning them to take the issue of hardship in Sierra Leone seriously and to do whatever they can to address or at least to be seen to be addressing the issue.
Every time we publish a report on the rising prices of foodstuff in the market, we always calculate the total cost of feeding a family of four. Earlier this month, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Paopa sufferness, we estimated that a minimum wage (Le 600,000) earning family can only feed itself for about seven days if all the pay was spent on one basic meal a day. What we have been doing is to signal to the Government that, taking into account the cost of living levels, what we are calling “minimum wage” is in fact a sick joke.
Today, we move a stage further and propose that instead of a “minimum” wage, we now begin to talk about a “living” wage, earning that makes people live decently. Most Sierra Leoneans today are living in shame; they beg because they have to, those who work do not earn enough and have to beg too. They need to earn a living wage because what most people are paid now is disconnected from the cost of living in the country.
Based on calculations made of the prices of food and essential non-food items we have found that a family of four (which is very rare in Sierra Leone) needs Le.4,989,000 a month for food, shelter, water for cooking, laundry and cleaning, light, transport, top up and a little balance for basic medicals.
It is therefore not surprising that the teachers have started demanding more. They who are supposed to be the pillars of the Government’s flagship free education, are earning only one quarter of what they need to start living decently. And they are not alone! And did you know that the amount a certain public official collects as annual rent allowance is equivalent to the monthly salary of thirty-nine teachers (taken at 1.3m)? This Government needs to hang its head in shame, and Sierra Leoneans need deliverance!
We stand by the teachers and believe that it is their right to request for a better deal if they find out that their employer (the Government), is not rewarding them adequately for the services they provide. Teachers (including our mothers) made us what we are. I would like to pay tribute to the following teachers and lecturers who among others contributed immensely to my education and prepared me well for a life of service, truth and good example:
- Rachel Lulu Wright (Prince of Wales and FBC),
- Alaba Elfrida Ellis (Murray Town Primary School),
- Eustace Palmer, the late Dr. Ramadan Dumbuya and Mrs. Jeannette Kamara (FBC).
All these people who made a solid impact on the lives of thousands of my generation were not rich but they were paid to live in dignity. We have no right to condemn the teachers of today to the disgraceful life they are living. If their demands are not taken seriously, Government’s flagship program may have to change its name to (FMQE) Free Minus Quality Education.
FOOD ITEMS NEEDED PER DAY FOR FAMILY OF FOUR PERSONS (Papa, Mama and two children)
|ITEM||AMOUNT||UNIT PRICE||DAILY TOTAL||MONTHLY TOTAL|
|Palm oil||1 pint||5,000||5,000||150,000|
|Fish (bonga)||1 set of 3 bonga fish||20,000||600,000|
|Black Plastic bag||1||1000||1,000||30,000|
NON-FOOD EXPENDITURE FOR FAMILY OF FOUR PERSONS (Papa, Mama and two children)
|Water (1 bundle) @ Le 6,000 per day (for 4 persons)||6,000||180,000||2,160,000|
|Water for laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. 6 bata @Le 1,000 (for 4 persons)||6,000||180,000||2,160,000|
|EDSA @ Le 200,000 (approx.100 units)||200,000||2,400,000|
|Medical (for 4 persons) @ Le 50,000||200,000||2,400,000|
|House rent @ Le 10,000,000 per annum||834,000||10,008,000|
|Transport (for 4 persons) @ Le 31,000 per day||930,000||11,160,000|
|Communications (top up/data etc.) @ Le 50,000 per week (for 4 persons)||200,000||2,400,000|
MONTHLY: FOOD (Le 2,265,000) + NON-FOOD (Le2,724,000)
Proposed monthly living wage is Le 4,989,000 (or Approx. Le 5,000,000) for sole breadwinner family of four.