MINISTER PROJECTS ECONOMIC DECLINE IN 2014

The Gambia is a country where statistics is a jewel. Even simple rainfall figures are a treasure to be hidden in a safe and known only to the weather office and the ministry. Needless to say, we cannot hide away from the stark economic reality, no matter what.
In his statement at the laying of the Estimates for the year 2015 the minister stated that, “The economy was driven by strong tourism activities and a continued growth in agriculture. Real GDP grew by 5.2 percent in 2012 and, although it moderated slightly, the growth rate remained high at 4.8 percent in 2013. Given good indications at the beginning of the year, particularly a strong 2013/14 tourism season, real economic activities were expected to grow by nearly 7.5 percent in 2014.”Instead of an expected growth of 7.5 percent, the Minister now projects a decline. “This growth outlook has been revised due to the Ebola outbreak  in the West Africa region and the late rains for this year’s agriculture season.” The government has now acknowledged that the rains this year were late and that this has impacted negatively on agriculture.
The minister further said “a lower agricultural output coupled with the pressures exerted by the energy sector will no doubt slow 2014 growth performance.” In short the minister is saying that a decline in agricultural output and higher fuel prices will slow down the growth of the economy. In fact, he said, “Together, the impacts of these shocks are projected to result in negative real GDP growth of 0.7 percent in 2014.” In other words, gross domestic product (GDP) will decline by 0.7 percent.
However, fuel prices will rise because of the removal of subsidies in 2015, despite the low price for the barrel of oil at the international market.