By Mustapha Jallow
Months after the announcement on the limitation of foreign currency exchange rates by the government this reporter visited places where foreign currency exchanges take place to find out the prevailing situation.
On Friday, 6 November, 2015 this reporter visited Banks, official Forex Bureau and roving foreign exchange dealers in the Kanifing Municipality.
Enquiries at the Banks revealed that the banks buy the dollar at D37 and sell it at D40. When this reporter enquired from the banks the scarcity of foreign exchange was immediately apparent.
In one bank he was told when he expressed his wish to purchase 5000 dollars that, “at this point to get an amount of 5000 dollars it would not be easy, that amount is not available at Bank.”
“It is a big problem to get that here, and in fact you cannot get that amount of foreign currencies in the banks unless you know someone there who would try the best to help you with it, our other bank in Banjul may probably get it but it would not be easy at all,” he revealed.
In another bank, a casher also made similar remarks. He stated that the amount is not available there and that even their clients who have an account or are saving in dollars cannot get access to their money. He emphasised that it would not be easy for them to get it.
As for the Forex Bureaus visited by this reporter, the operator told this reporter that the rates are alright but they are not stable at all.
Talking to Foroyaa, an operator said the rate is not stable as they are selling the dollar at 46 and buying it at 46. She noted that business is normal as at now; adding that they face losses when the rates go down.
An operator at another Forex Bureau told this reporter that they are buying the dollar at D45 and selling it at D46. He added that they are thankful that the rate is getting a bit normal as they make sure their clients will be satisfied.
As for the roving foreign exchange dealers, they say they are the ones who are affected of the exchange of foreign currencies. They told this reporter that sometimes members of state security forces would arrest them or request for money from them to be released; that they’re facing a lot of challenges. They sell the dollar for D45.75 and buy it for D45.50. They opine that the limit imposed on the foreign exchange rates can only undermine the economic progress of the country. “If the government does not allow the rate to go above the limit it would affect the people and the economy,” one of them said.