minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has spoken highly of The Gambia’s
recently launched National Development Plan, saying once they generate the
resources required for this mammoth investment it would transformed the country
to be best outlook ever.
Amadou Sanneh was speaking on Thursday during a forum convened by Standard Charted Bank on The Gambia Economic Outlook 2018 at a hotel in Kotu.
He expression optimism that the country is making gains in its economic outlook, saying the country’s outlook in 2018 and medium term, are all crystallized in the National Development Plan which encompasses key thematic areas from human rights, rule of law, youth empowerment tourism among a host of others.
“It has been launched on the 6 February and we are now in the process of mobilizing resources, commitment and pledges towards this plan. It our hope that once we were able to generate the resources for this investment, it will transform The Gambia to the best outlook that one could look for the people of this country”.
Minister Sanneh described the event as important as it will lead to more sensitisation about government development programmes especially on the country’s efforts to come out of the predicament economically and socially.
“This economic outlook from where we started in January 2017 was a hopeless situation as The Gambia is faced with challenges from the beginning. The interest rates were around 24%, the inflation rate rise to 9% and unemployment was extremely high especially for the youths. All the state-owned enterprises in critical financial situation and some have to borrow overdrafts to be able to pay their salaries. Financial controlled, disciplined and regulations were all thrown outside doldrums. So with these challenge we have to tighten our belt in trying to bring sanity to the economy” he added.
These policy-measures, Minister Sanneh indicated has yielded some benefits as they have seen some promising turn around in key indicators during his one year in government.
The Finance minister outlined that commercial rates have come down to around 18% from 24%, further expressing optimism that the commercial rates will still go down.
“The government alone cannot handle all these challenges. Our policy-strategy is to engage the private more and more in all these sectors i.e., energy, health, agriculture and infrastructure. So all these sectors are challenged now, but I think it is critical for our financial sector to be able to rise up to these challenges. Treasury bills rates have been going down because we have a serious fiscal discipline to reduce government borrowing to a level now that we are no longer borrowing central bank. We have reduced the level of expenditure to an extent that the budget deficit was reduced from around 10% of GDP to in 2016 to 1% in 2017”.
This rise continues, he went on, in 2018 where some consolidations with some hitches, promising that the objective is to bring The Gambia out of its bankruptcy to a level where the country will have a sustainable-transformed economy that is able to generate growth employment, prosperity and social cohesion among others.
The event attracted other speakers notably, Mustapha Njie alias Taf of Taf Africa Global among others.