By: Kebba AF Touray
The Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG), Mr. Buah Saidy said private remittance inflows have reached US$388.8 million equivalent to over twenty-three Billion, two hundred and eighty thousand Dalasi (D23, 280,000,000).
He said these inflows which have consistently served as a major source of foreign currency for the country, reached US$388.8 million from January to June 2023, representing an increase of 49.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
He said the provisional balance of payments estimates for the second half of 2023 indicate a wider current account balance of US$157.6 million (7.6 percent of GDP), compared to US$40.8 million (2.1 percent of GDP) recorded in the comparable period in 2022.
“Deficit in the goods account widened to US$488.7 million (23.6 percent of GDP) in the first six months of 2023, from US$ 282.6 million (282.6 percent of GDP) in the corresponding period a year ago. The widening of the deficit in the goods account is attributed largely to the increase in the value of electricity, food products, and fuel imports,” he said. He noted that the foreign exchange market continues to function smoothly, saying the total turnover of this market stood at US$1.3 billion from January to July 2023, constituting a decrease of 19.4 percent relative to US$1.6 billion registered in the corresponding period of 2022. He however said the Gambian dalasi has remained relatively stable against major currencies, despite demand-driven fluctuations in the foreign exchange market, and that the pace of depreciation for the Gambian currency has decelerated.
Governor Saidy stated that from January to July 2023, the Gambian Dalasi appreciated slightly against the US dollar by 0.6 percent and the British pound by 1.0 percent, and depreciated against the Euro by 0.8 percent and CFA franc by 6.5 percent.
“The Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves totaling US$ 406.0 million as at end-July 2023, is sufficient to cover over 4 months of prospective imports. Moreover, the stable remittance inflows, tourism receipts, and official inflows will continue to support the stability of the national currency by providing foreign currency liquidity,” he said. In light of these factors and their strong commitment to bringing down inflation to the desired target, Saidy said the Monetary Policy Committee has taken some decisions such as increasing the Monetary Policy Rate by 1.0 percentage points to 17.0 percent, maintaining the required reserve of commercial banks at 13.0 percent, maintaining the interest rate on the standing lending deposit facility at 3.0 percent, and increasing the interest rate on the standing lending facility to 18.0 percent. He said the Committee will continue to monitor the cumulative effects of this and past policy actions on inflation and economic activity, to determine the next policy direction.