Oct 26, 2009, 3:37 PM
The Government of The Gambia has announced that it has imposed a moratorium, with immediate effect, on the shipping of the US dollar out of the country, warning that drastic action will be taken against any individual, businesses or group found not playing by the rules.
A statement issued by the presidency late yesterday stated that it has come to the attention of the Office of the President that speculators and some unscrupulous businesses are creating an artificial shortage of foreign exchange, especially of the United States dollar, thereby causing its unprecedented appreciation against the Gambian Dalasi with the sole intention of hiking prices of basic commodities and causing hardship to the people of The Gambia.
The presidency, according to the press release, informed the general public, particularly those involved in the foreign exchange bureaus, banks and mobile telephone operators that they are hereby warned that drastic action will be taken against any individual or body or corporate body found culpable of hoarding and speculating in foreign exchange.
It stated that it reserves the right to close any business, bureau de change, bank or any company that is bent on sabotaging the economy of the Gambia without any further notice, stressing that anybody found dealing with foreign currency like the CFA and is not registered to do so will face the full force of the law, in addition to forfeiting such to the state.
‘As a first step to curb this nefarious activity or criminal trend’, the release went on to state that ‘all wishing to exit the country with foreign currency in excess of US$10, 000 or its equivalent must have declared the same at the point of exit,’ the statement added.
Furthermore, according to the statement, a moratorium has been imposed, with immediate effect, on all shipping of the US Dollar out of the country, with possible exemption for essential importation which must obtain prior clearance from the Office of the President.
In the same vein, the release added that a team of enforcement agents have been directed to investigate and monitor all foreign exchange bureaus and or registered agents, as well as any other institution, and are authorized to confiscate any US dollar currency going out of the country without any prior approval or adherence to the law.
The release went further to state that all commercial banks have facilities for the opening of foreign currency accounts and, therefore, there will be no excuse for any institution, individual or group found with large cash amount of any foreign currency especially the US dollar, Euros, Pound Sterling or the CFA Franc.
“The Ministry of Finance, the Gambia Revenue Authority and a team of law enforcement agency under Operation No Compromise are hereby warned to apply these measures to the letter, as the Office of the President would not allow greedy, unpatriotic and heartless people to hold the populace to ransom.
“Anyone found violating these directives or not playing by the rules of honest trading practices will be prosecuted under the economic crimes law, in addition to being banned from doing any business in The Gambia.
“Finally, the generally public is hereby informed that the trading of the US Dollar will be between the range of D30 to D33 to US$1”, the government release declared.