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Barrow Says Gambia’s Economy is On Track, Dalasi Broadly Stable

President Barrow addressing the nation at the National Assembly

The Gambian president, Adama Barrow, says the country’s economy has witnessed growth, while the Dalasi remains broadly stable as he delivered his third state of the nation address at the National Assembly on Thursday.

Section 771 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia states that a sitting president is to appear before lawmakers (at least once a year) to address key issues including state policies and programmes.

“I am proud to report that the country’s economic growth has generally strengthened, while inflation has now moderated. For the past two years the economy grew by 4.8% in 2017 and improved to 6.5% in 2018,” the president said in Banjul.

He stated that the balance of payments estimates indicate that the current account deficit narrowed to 1.5 percent of GDP in the first half of 2019, compared to a deficit of 1.7 percent of GDP in the corresponding quarter in 2018. According to President Barrow, the improvement in the current account balance is attributed to the increase in foreign inflows related to the support from development partners, diaspora remittances, and tourism.

“Gross international reserves is projected at 4 months of next year’s imports of goods and services. The exchange rate of the dalasi remains broadly stable supported by market confidence, and increased inflows from private remittances, higher receipts from tourism, and official inflows from development partners,” he told MPs.

He disclosed that the government fiscal operations for the first six months of 2019 indicated that total revenue and grants stood at 9.8 percent of GDP compared to 8.6 percent of GDP in the same period last year. He added that the total expenditure and net lending declined from 11.5 percent of GDP a year ago to 10 percent of GDP in the first part of 2019.

Quoting the financial soundness indicators, the banking sector remains adequately capitalized, highly liquid and profitable. He said the ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans declined to 2.3 percent from 2.7 percent a year ago, largely reflecting enhanced credit administration processes and effective loan recovery measures. 

“Private sector credit expanded by 28.8 percent, higher than 20 percent a year ago. With the private sector expected to play a significant role in financing of the National Development Plan (2018-2021), we have drafted a revision to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Law with the support of Expertise France and other International Financial Institutions. As a result, we will submit the bill to the National Assembly for consideration”.

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