Dec 22, 2008, 4:52 AM
As this year's Tobaski feast is just at the corner, concerns have been raised about the escalating rate of the CFA franc. Latest findings have indicated that the 5000 CFA franc, which used to be pegged at D250, has now risen to D300 or more.
This trend, according to analysts, has and will continue to hamper businesses since many people in the country do business with the CFA franc.
This paper yesterday went in and around the Greater Banjul Area to sound the minds of businessmen and ordinary people in the streets as to the current situation.
According to Mr. Momodou Turo Darboe, a renowned businessman cum CEO of Vision Development Foundation, who doubles as the Managing Director of Sankajula Holding Company, the current situation with regards to the escalation of the CFA franc leaves a lot to be desired. This, he stated, is really affecting business, especially at a time when the Tobaski is just around the corner- a time when many businessmen use the CFA to buy goods to meet their demand.
"Really the situation is definitely not favourable. The escalating rate of the CFA franc is no doubt hampering business because this is a time when people buy goods, especially rams so that they can sell to the poor and needy at a reasonable price. With this current situation, definitely we are going to find it very difficult," Darboe said.
The Fajikunda-based business tycoon appealed to the government to help remedy this situation as, according to him, government's intervention is really needed.
A philanthropists himself, Darboe during every Tobaski dish out gifts to the poor and needy by providing them with rams and other essential goods, but under the current situation things it would be extremely difficult to maintain that tradition.
According to Mr. Darboe, if the trend continues uninterrupted, there is a possibility that some farmers would cross the border to sell their groundnut produce because of the superfluous value of the CFA currency over the Dalasi which, he noted, will be to the detriment of the Gambian economy. He then appealed to the concerned authorities to seriously look into the issue.
Many who also spoke to this paper expressed frustration about the escalating rate of the CFA franc, calling on the concerned authorities to redress the situation.
"The situation is really not good as we speak.
The 5000 CFA used to be just D250, but within a short period it rose to D300 plus. Something really needs to be done with regards to this", one Modou Wuri Jallow, a businessman at Banjul Ferry Terminal said.