2015 IN BRIEF THE ECONOMY

By Amie Sanneh

We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in 2015. We continue to summarise the NEW CURRENCYstories relating to the economy.

NEW CURRENCY BEARING PRESIDENT JAMMEH’S PICTURE ISSUED
The Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG) announced on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 that it had introduced new bank notes in all the denominations with the image of President Jammeh on them.The announcement also added that the existing bank notes will continue to be legal tender and in circulation until fully withdrawn overtime.

New denominations of D20 and D200 were introduced.

GAMBIA IMPOSES RESTRICTION ON FOREIGN CURRENCY EXPORT EXCEEDING US$10,000

A press release issued on 4 May, 2015 from the office of the president informs the general public of its grave concern regarding what it described as “the rapid depreciation of the Gambian Dalasi” against all international currencies, especially the US Dollar. This led the government to impose restrictions on Foreign Currency Export exceeding US$10,000. “No one is allowed to take Currency Export at USD 10,000more than 10,000 dollars without prior approval from the office of the president and anyone found violating this pronouncement will have his/her money forfeited to the state,” the release stated.

After the announcement on the restriction of foreign currency export, ForexBureaux and Banks in both Banjul and Kanifing Municipality, for five working days were not providing Western Union money transfer services to customers.

This was confirmed Monday, 18 May, 2015, when Foroyaa went round to the banks and forexbureaux where the Western Union money transfer transactions are offered.

 DOMESTIC DEBT AT D20.7 BILLION- CBG

The Governor of Central of the Gambia, Amadou Colley, has said that the country’s domestic debt in the year to end-September 2015, rose to D20.7 billion (54.2 percent of GDP), or by 23.8 percent from a year earlier. Outstanding Treasury bills, which accounted for 69 percent of the domestic debt according to Governor Colley, increased by 4.4 percent whilst the stock of outstanding Sukuk AI Salaam (SAS) contracted by 11.2 percent. The Central Bank Governor was speaking on November 5 during CBG Governor Colleythe Monetary Policy Committee meeting held at the bank’s conference room in Banjul.

 

FINANCE MINISTER PRESENTS 2016 ESTIMATES

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. AbdouKolley, on Monday, 30 November, submitted for consideration and approval by the National Assembly the Estimates of Revenues, Recurrent and Development Expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2016.

On the fiscal deficit, MrKolley asserted that the fiscal deficit is expected to reach D3.6 billion or 9.6 per cent of GDP by end December 2015 and as a result, more than 50 per cent of the deficit is to be financed from domestic sources.

On Total Expenditure and Net-lending, Minister Kolley informed Deputies that it is projected to increase from D11.7 billion in 2015 to D16.91 billion in 2016. This represents an increase of 45 per cent, the bulk of which is attributed to the recurrent budget. Personnel Expenditures are projected to increase from D2.0 billion in 2015 to D2.2 billion in 2016.

On Debt Interest payment, he informed Deputies that it is projected to consume around 43 per cent of Government revenues inAbdou Kolley 2016 compared to 35 per cent in 2015, increasing from D2.8 billion in 2015 to D3.7 billion in 2016, representing an increase of 31 per cent.

 

CRUDE OIL PRICE SLUMPS

While fuel pump price increase in The Gambia

As the price of fuel has drastically reduced in the world from US$140 per barrel in July 2014 to about US$60 per barrel, the effect of this reduction is not being felt in The Gambia where the pump prices of petrol and diesel has been increasing.

According to media reports, the price of crude oil, from which petrol and diesel are extracted, is expected to fall further in the coming months.

In the Gambia the prices on 1st September 2014 were D58.52 per litre for petrol and D55.09 per litre for diesel. The price on 31 December 2015 was virtually the same while the world market price of crude oil had dropped by two thirds during the same period.

GROUNDNUT MARKETING STARTS LATE

The groundnut marketing season did not start till Thursday, 8th January 2015. Farmers lamented the late start of the trade season, adding that most of them had already sold a greater part of their produce to middlepersons or across the border in Senegal.

On the farm gate price this year, the farmers said it is pegged at GMD15, 250 (Gambian Dalasi) per metric ton and that this represents an increment of GMD750 on last year’s price which was pegged at GMD14,500.

Some of these farmers who spoke to Farmers’ Eye have disclosed that they were at the mercy of middlepersons who are buying their groundnuts at cut throat prices.
Farmers in both the North Bank and Central River regions revealed that the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) had signed an agreement with their Cooperative Marketing Societies (CPMS) since December 2014, but were late in receiving any communication from them.