Gambia’s Debt Stock Increases to D110.6 Billion-Finance Minister

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Gambia’s Finance Minister, Seedy Keita has unveiled that the county’s public debt stock has increased to D110.6 billion.

The Finance Minister unveiled this during a press conference held at the Finance Ministry, while making comparison on the economic growth of the Gambia from 2016 to 2023.

He said, “The Gambia’s public debt stock increased from D46.3 billion in 2016 to D110.6 billion in 2023. This is largely attributed to inherited large domestic and external debt from the previous administration”.

He said that it is also attributed to costly domestic debt service obligations, high contingent liabilities stemming primarily from NAWEC and several loss-making State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

The skyrocket increment he added, is also attributed to debt restructuring during the outbreak of COVID-19, depreciation of the dalasi against major currencies and new borrowing to finance ongoing development project.

He said between 2018 and 2020 the Gambia’s domestic debt stock did not change, saying “The change in total debt stock results from external debt restructuring and the depreciation of the Gambian dalasi against major currencies”.

Debt restructuring, as explained by the Finance Minister eliminates immediate fiscal pressure emanating from debt service payments.

He however said that total debt stock increases as external debt disbursements continue while debt principal payments are deferred.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, he said the Gambia secured commitments to restructure its bilateral and multilateral debt to alleviate the country’s debt service burden.

He went on to state that in 2017, the administration inherited an overdrawn TMA to the tune of D10.8 billion, which was subsequently securitized by issuing a 30-year non-marketable bond. (The Triangular Moving Average (TMA) is a technical analysis indicator used by traders to determine the direction of the trend and potential entry and exit points in the financial markets.)

“In 2018, the new government signed an MOU agreeing to assume the majority of NAWEC’s debt and issued a 7-year non-marketable NAWEC bond up to the tune of D1.7 billion to make debt service payments on behalf of the national utility provider”, he said.