This was confirmed yesterday, Monday, 18 May 2015, when this reporter went round again to the banks and forex bureaux where the Western Union money transfer transactions are offered.
Since Wednesday, 13 May, customers who are supposed to receive money through Western Union have been finding it difficult to get the service as banks and forex bureaux have stopped making payments. According to bank officials and operators of these money transfer businesses, they incur huge losses because the exchange rates offered by Western Union for the foreign currencies is higher than the local rate which is now fixed by government through an executive directive from state house. “It is only monies sent through the other transfer services such as RIA and MoneyGram that we are paying but not Western Union,” said an operator.
An operator said the other services have lowered their rates to commensurate with the local rates and that Western Union should be doing the same.
A customer who could not receive money sent to him from abroad told this reporter that it was suggested to him that he should inform the sender to send the money again through any of the other money transfer services operating in the country. “This is extra cost on the sender if the money is to be channeled again through another service,” lamented the customer.
The current fixed official exchange rates for the foreign currencies to the Gambian Dalasi are for the US Dollar is D35 for buying and D39.38 for selling; Euro is D42 for buying and D43.08 for selling and the Pound Sterling is D60 for buying and D62 for selling.