State House, Banjul, 25th May 2023: On Wednesday, 24th May 2023, His Excellency President Adama Barrow presided over the Monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the State House in Banjul. The Council is an advisory body comprised of ministers and senior officials managing the economy and public financial institutions that have met to update on the state of the economy since its April 2023 meeting.
According to officials of the Central Bank of The Gambia, applying the reference rate with minor tweaks on all Forex transactions was effective. It has already picked up and stabilised, except for an initial drop in the transaction volume.
The Central Bank has also introduced a new shipment policy, and negotiations are advanced to exit the current liberal arrangements that are in place. The latest shipment policy aims to improve confidence in the local banking system and enhance financial security.
To improve on the Foreign Exchange market, the Bank and its partners will research to determine the factors that could help inform decisions in the licensing and regulation of the Forex Bureaus by the end of June 2023. Regarding the demand for CFA, the meeting noted that the CFA is not a legal tender in The Gambia but is a recognised medium of exchange. The Council assigned the CBG to explore the possibilities available to the country to ease the burden of the rising CFA demand.
On other revenue sources, the emphasis was that the Port is a critical avenue but requires modern development to accommodate larger vessels to optimise its productivity and eliminate all incentives for overland importation.
GRA briefed the meeting with comparative data on revenue collection, stressing that despite a 5% drop, the economy is stable, and businesses have confidence in a peaceful and stable environment. Concerning uncontrolled rising personnel emoluments of subvented institutions, the meeting concluded that Permanent Secretaries should improve the control mechanism by improving their oversight responsibilities, while the Ministry of Public Services is working on a Salary Categorization policy.
The Gambia Public Procurement Agency -GPPA reported that eight of 12 assessed procuring entities had been authorised and granted independent procurement status. Stakeholders have validated the GPPA policy, while digital and e-procurement are being considered. While the digital Ministry is advancing on e-government, it was observed that all digital platforms would be synchronised to the government systems.
Tourism arrivals are reported to have increased significantly, specifically with tourists from the sub-region and non-traditional destinations.
On Trade, the Barrow government has placed a temporary moratorium on Agriculture products such as onions and potatoes and created the Jokalanteh platform to protect women onion growers and connect them with women traders and importers to interact and trade in products.
Meanwhile, the meeting directed the economic players to interact at the technical level to overcome the hurdles and improve performances.
H.E. Vice President Muhammad Jallow also attended the Monthly meeting.