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This thuggish President must lay his hands off our forex monies for our parents

This thuggish President must lay his hands off our forex monies for our parents

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials in the Gambia have warned the country’s recalcitrant Dictator Yahya Jammeh to loosen his tight grip of the country’s foreign exchange operations, or risk putting the country’s external viability and fiscal sustainability at grave risk.”

The country’s Dictator, Yahya Jammeh had unilaterally issued a Presidential directive in May 2015, imposing exchange rate overvalue of the country’s currency by more than 20 per cent compared to the prevailing market rates, which the IMF staff noted was not in equilibrium. The decision has also closed down many businesses in foreign exchange business in the country.

In September 2015, IMF issued a dire warning that the President’s directive was a major policy slippage, which had led to worsening economic outlook for the country, at a time when the country faces major cuts from its development donors, due to its appalling human right records.

The IMF officials and relevant stakeholders in the country including: Hoteliers, Import and export firms, shipping companies, etc., are meeting with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials to discuss possible solutions to looming crisis to the country’s economy.

The Gambia’s economy is currently described as suffering from malaria, due to the dwindling currency crises compared to other foreign currency.

“The imposition of the exchange rates directive has already damaged the near-term outlook and increased vulnerabilities in the country’s economy”, warned the IMF’s latest report on The Gambia after it concluded an Article IV consultation in the country on 18 September 2015.

“The directive in fixing forex rates has been counterproductive”, said Mr Mpatswe, IMF country representative, while briefing members of the private sector about the IMF report and current state of the Gambian economy”.

According to the IMF expert, the Gambian President’s directive on foreign exchange rates has brought about no reduction in the country’s food prices; rather it has impacted negatively on the forex market and the banking system in the country, to the benefit and expansion of parallel markets. Furthermore, International or external budget support had not been forthcoming, as a result of the policy slippages over the recent months and years.

He warned that the gross international reserves’ import coverage is expected to remain low for the next three months until end of 2015, even if the government reverse its current policy and implement corrective policy actions.

In the absence of such urgent corrective actions, he warned that social progress made in recent years would be “under threat”. “It is crucial that the recent exchange rate directive is rescinded immediately, and The Gambia returns to a flexible exchange rate policy,”

“In the event that the directive is not immediately rescinded and the fiscal slippages are left unaddressed, The Gambia’s external viability and fiscal sustainability will be put at grave risk,” the IMF report presented by Mr Mpatswe stated.

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