By: Kebba AF Touray
Bakary Jammeh, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG), has disclosed that the stock of domestic debt has increased to 32.86 billion Dalasi in February 2020, from 31.88 billion in December 2019.
Jammeh made this disclosure during the recent Monetary Policy Meeting (MPC) held at the CBG. Gov. Jammeh disclosed that total Government expenditure and net lending in 2019, increased to 19.8 billion compared to 19.7 billion in 2018. He said the Gambian economy is estimated to have grown by 6.5 percent in 2018 and this was largely driven by the service sector, whereas growth is projected at 6.0 percent in 2019 and 6.2 percent in 2020; that this is due mainly to strong growth in the service sectors such as tourism and trade and financial services such as insurance and telecommunication. He noted that agriculture and communication are expected to contribute strongly to economic growth in 2020. He explained that the goods account deficit is estimated at US$381.0 million in 2019, compared to a deficit of US$354.4 million in the same period in 2018; that revenue and grants in 2019 stood at D16.6 billion, higher than D14.9 billion in 2018.
Gov. Jammeh said headline inflation decelerated to 7.4 percent in January in 2020, after stabilizing at 7.7 percent in November and December 2019, due mainly to a decrease in consumer price inflation of major components of non-food items.
He said food inflation increased to 7.92 percent in January 2020 from 6.19 percent in January 2019, due to an increased in bread, cereals, near, oil and fat; that the MPC is of the view that headline inflation will continue to trend downwards in the near term and that this will be premised on the continued stability in the exchange rate, anchored on inflation expectations.
He asserted that the MPC decided to reduce the policy rate by 0.5 percentage points to 12 percent and increased the interest rate on the standing deposit facility by 0.5 percentage points to 3; that the standing/lending facility has also reduced to 13 percent from 13.5 percent.