By: Kebba AF Touray
Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), Buah Saidy, has said in a bid to increase the resilience of the country’s economy, there is need to diversify the nation’s economy.
He said this remark during the Monetary Policy Committee Meeting (MPC) held at the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG).
“During the MPC debate, the Research Department of the CBG, looked at diverse economies in the region, to see how they fared during the pandemic and evidence have shown that countries that have diversified their economies were able to contain their economies at a much better rate than counties that have not diversified but depended on just one export commodity,” he said.
He stressed that there is need to ensure that the country’s health sector is improved, saying when the pandemic struck, countries that are at the advanced stages in terms of health system were able to deal with the pandemic at a much better way than countries with weak health system.
“That is why when the pandemic came, the government of the Gambia looked at the budget and tried to move resources from certain areas to generate the D750 million health fund, so that the health system would be improved to take care of the pandemic,” he said.
Saidy said the assertion that the price hike in commodities is entirely due to tax increment is inaccurate. He said since the ERP period in 1986, prices have been liberalized, adding that price controls have disadvantages one of which is hoarding by businesses.
“Once you try to control prices, businesses will start hoarding and the intention of price control to help the population, to enjoy stable and low prices would not be achieved,” he said.
According to the CBG chief, the Ministry of Finance has also declared urgent need to improve the IT infrastructure of the country so that digital banking and mobile wallet, the use of credit card are facilitated.
“The government also intends to build more roads (such as Kiang Sankandi road) and is also limited to only accelerating investment in road infrastructure, but investment in Port expansion. Currently, the Ministry of Finance, is closely working with the IMF, to secure financing from the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank,” he said.
Governor Saidy said they had an Economic Council Meeting and the Finance Ministry pronounced that the strategy is to move the country from vulnerability state to a resilient state. He said this aims to consolidate fiscal policy and ensure there is fiscal discipline in place.
He added that in terms of expenditure, the finance ministry has monthly cash allocations where expenditure is matched against the revenue received.