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Gambia hosts WAMZ meeting

Jun 2, 2011, 1:30 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

The Gambia is playing host to the three-day Fourth Meeting of the College of Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone (CSWAMZ), which opened yesterday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The convergence is, among others, geared towards further strengthening the supervisory processes and bolster public confidence among the financial systems of the West African boundaries.

According to officials, the objectives of the college are to facilitate information exchange, provision of common understanding of the risk profile of banks within the sub-region, co-ordinate supervisory activities to avoid duplication of efforts and to contribute to the harmonization of prudential and regulatory standards within WAMZ.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Essa Drammeh, from the Financial Supervision Department of the Central Bank of The Gambia,said the College of Supervisors has come at a time when regulators all over the world are grappling with challenges posed by the global financial crisis.

He noted that financial stability is a prerequisite for economic development and improvement of the lives of our people.

According to Drammeh, their ultimate objective is to transform the way supervision is done in our part of the world so as to have a new form of openness within and between respective organisations and enhancing the skills of young examiners through intensified training. 

He stated that one of the fundamental roles of Central Banks is to maintain sound financial systems. This goal, he added, cannot be achieved without an effective regulatory and supervisory system.

“The financial system of the sub-region cannot be considered stable if there is turmoil in one of our countries,” said Mr. Drammeh.

Drammeh stressed the need to ensure compliance with national and international standards such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Risk Based Supervision (RBS) as well as national initiatives geared towards strengthening financial institutions.

“The Central Bank of the Gambia is desirous to maintaining a robust regulatory regime based on the core principles of banking supervision and international best practices,” Drammeh said, adding that a number of structural reforms are being implemented which, among others, include the increase in minimum capital for banks to D150 million in December 2010 and D200 million by December 2012.

In his keynote address, Amadou Colley, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, said that the establishment of a college of supervisors is a giant step towards the attainment of the WAMZ objective of monetary and financial integration within the sub-region.

The Central Bank Governor stated that lessons learnt from the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis indicated that global financial systems are interlinked, while supervisory systems are fragmented.

He said against this backdrop, global leaders emphasis the need for national regulatory authorities to shift attention from reliance on micro to macro prudential regulation and supervision of international banking groups.

According to him, the recommendation that interaction between college members should be complementary to the interactions of individual supervisors and specific entities as well as the college of supervisors and national crisis management structures to complement each other’s work, have provided useful guidance for the College of Supervisors of the West African Zone.

Temitope W. Oshikoya, Director General WAMI, said that since the inception of the College of Supervisors, it has made remarkable progress in enhancing supervisory cooperation, developing capacity of supervisors among others across the zone.

“The West Africa Monetary Institute is desirous to promote the attainment of the objective of CSWAMZ,” he added.

Oshikoya reassured the gathering of the organizations unflinching commitment to the promotion of financial sector integration as a means of creating a thriving financial sector in the zone.

However, he urged the members of the college to continue with their cooperation and collaboration efforts so as to achieve this feat.

He also thanked the Governor and management of the Central Bank of the Gambia for accepting to host the college meeting.