By Muhammad Bah
The Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG), Mr. Amadou Colle,y on Monday, 10th November, responded to queries raised by the members of the joint Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee of the National Assembly at the end of year activity report of the bank for the year ended 2013.
In his intervention, Hon. Lamin K. Jammeh, National Assembly Member (NAM) for Illiasa, said according to the Governor, the Village Savings and Credit Association (VISACA) registered growth. He therefore asked who is overseeing this important institution apart from the Central Bank’s supervision. He said they need a body to take on the supervisory role apart from the CBG. He also asked how is it possible to have a drop in deposit and a growth in assets regarding commercial banks operations. According to Jammeh, the interest rate being charged by commercial banks is high on deposit and that they have lots of cash in hand.
Hon. Matarr Kujabi, NAM for Foni Bondali, recommended for the VISACAs to be amalgamated to the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions (NACCUG). He said the VISACAs have failed because they gave out loans to non-members. He said it is different with the credit unions which only give credit to their members. He added that debtors do not repay their loans to the VISACAs.
Hon Fabakary T. Jatta, NAM for Serrekunda East and Majority Leader, said his concern is how to reduce domestic borrowing and asked the CBG to make recommendations to tackle this issue
Hon. Mam Cherno Jallow, NMA for Upper Nuimi, said the CBG has failed to give adequate responses to the auditors query, adding that such queries should be adequately responded to in order to move the institution further.
The NAM for Namina Dankunku, Hon. Samba Jallow, for his part, noted that foreign exchange bureaus display different rates and asked whether the CBG has any monitoring mechanism in place to regulate the flow of currency in and out of the country. He added that the security of the dalasi, in particular t the 100 dalasi note, needs to be revisited.
Governor Colley, in response to the questions, said it is appropriate to maintain the VISACAs as they are as it is not the appropriate time now to change them to operate like credit unions .He said CBG is to continue to perform the oversight role and regulate their growth for the effective utilization of the country’s resources.
The CBG Governor further explained that due to the small resources of the VISACAs, it is difficult for them to be amalgamated into a credit union.
He however promised the NAMs that CBG would comply with the auditors as it was due to the inadequacy of staff which, he said, is now regulated.
Mr. Colley said there is an ongoing strategy to make the dalasi more secured from forgery and others.
He said the operation of the foreign exchange bureaus is not satisfactory and that the CBG will continue to monitor their performance and operations.