Gambian UN peacekeepers

Gambian soldiers taking part in United Nation’s led peacekeeping missions will now receive their wages in the local currency- Dalasi and not Dollars, the country’s military has announced.

Gambian security officers who took part in various UN peacekeeping mission around the world used to get their wages in American Dollars, which has helped to improve their livelihoods.

With the average Gambian security personnel taking home less than D5,000 a month, many rely heavily on UN peacekeeping missions to provide for their families.

But the military said the decision to scrap the payment of peace keepers in Dollars stems from an incident in 2017 where authorities experience difficulties in making dollar payments to a contingent of peace keepers who served in Sudan’s troubled region, Darfu.

“A precedent was set during the last 22 years to pay our troops in hard currency, but we understand there is a central bank policy that regulates payment in hard currency at home,” Major Lamin K. Sanyang, media officer of the Armed Forces told the independent newspaper, The Point.

“If the troops were to be paid in Darfur, then they will be paid in hard currency but when they are in the country, they should be paid in local currency because all countries pay their troops in their local currencies.”

Lt. General Masanneh Kinteh, Chief of Defence Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces

Major Sanyang said the army came to clearly realise the difficulties after the 2017 episode and to correct it, the ministries of Finance, Defence and the Accountant General Department briefed the departing UN peacekeepers to Dafur about the changes of payment before they left Banjul.

He added: “We told them the fact so that before they return they can know that they will be paid in Dalasi, using the exchange rate.”

He added explained as part of the new policy, a contingent of UN peacekeepers who returned to Banjul last week will receive 50 per cent in Dollar and 50 per cent in Dalasi with the higher exchange rate in the market.

“This will be the last time UN contingents will be paid in Dollar,” he said.

“What we pay our soldiers is the highest paid rate in the world because some of the countries give their troops half payment.”