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APRC Gov’t left D48B debt, says Finance Minister

Feb 21, 2017, 11:02 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Sanneh, has said the APRC Government had left Gambians with “monstrous debts of D48.3 billion”.

The minister made this revelation yesterday to journalists at a preliminary press briefing held at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Banjul.

The public enterprise accounts of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), Gamtel and the Carnegie Mining project were a reflection of the mismanagement of the Gambian economy by the APRC government, the Finance Minister said.

“This conduct amounts to a total betrayal of Gambian people leaving them with monstrous debts of D48.3 billion, net international reserves of only US$27.4 million or 0.7 months of import cover for goods and services.”

The minister further stated that the Central Bank of The Gambia had short-term borrowings (SWAPS) from commercial banks of US$32.7 million to enable it meet the government loan repayment obligations.

A sample of the withdrawals, he outlined, includes: “On 15/7/14 (15 July 2014) there was cash withdrawal of US$300,000 by Sana Jarjue, Office of the President. On 23/7/14 cash withdrawal of US$700,000 through Sana Jarjue, Office of the President; on 23/7/14 cash withdrawal of US$600,000 through Sana Jarjue, Office of the President; on 11/8/14 cash withdrawal of US$1,000,000  by Office of the President.

“Also, on 10/9/14 there was cash withdrawal of US$1,000,000 by Office of the President; on 16/9/15 cash withdrawal of US$800,000 through Sulayman Badgie, Office of the President and on 16/9/15 cash withdrawal of US$704,721.63 through Nuha Williams, Office of the President.”

According to the report, the preliminary findings of these amounts showed that they had been withdrawn in cash either in US dollars or in Gambian dalasi and got changed into US dollars bought in the foreign exchange market; thus creating and putting pressure on both the country’s reserves and the exchange rates.

The Finance Minister further said that The Gambia will need over US$12 billion in the short-term, and even much more than that in the not too distant time as “the State coffers are in severe financial mess”.

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Camara, said this outstanding debt is just a “tip of the Iceberg”, since the Jammeh regime “left the country absolutely with no finance”.

In his remarks on the issue, Interior Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty said the money Jammeh and his government had gone with belongs to all Gambians.

Everything possible will be done to ensure that Gambians get their missing money back, even if it meant engaging the international community and other bodies, he added.