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Strange development by CBG

May 11, 2015, 9:36 AM

The quarterly monetary policy report for the last three months covering February, March and April has been prepared and released to some quarters by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG).

Strangely enough this time around the report has not been made available to journalists, as a press briefing where the report would usually be read and copies of it made available to the media for publication was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Moreover, the report is usually posted for public consumption and records purposes on the CBG website immediately after it is released, but this time it has not been so for all to see the status of our economy and how it’s being run.

This sounds strange and baffling as the traditional process that has been ongoing over the recent years has somehow just been aborted.

Such a move would create serious suspicion that something is fishy somewhere about the current trend of the economy.

The last MPC report released to journalists was on 24 February 2015, which is roughly three months ago.

It stated that under Real GDP Growth, the latest estimates from the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) indicate that real GDP contracted by 1.4 per cent in 2014, compared to the growth of 4.6 per cent and 5.9 per cent in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

On Money and Banking sector Developments, the report indicated that Broad money grew by 11.2 per cent in the year to end-December 2014 compared with the growth of 15.1 per cent in the previous year.

In Government Fiscal Operations, the report said that whilst preliminary data on the execution of the Government budget for 2014 indicate that total revenue and grants increased to D7.6 billion (22.4 per cent of GDP), or 26.3 per cent from 2013, total expenditure and net lending amounted to D11.8 billion (35.1 per cent of GDP), higher than the outturn of D8.8 billion (27.0 per cent of GDP) in 2013.

However, the report also revealed that the overall budget balance (including grants) recorded a deficit of D4.3 billion (12.6 per cent of GDP) which was financed by both domestic and external sources.

On External Sector Developments, the MPC report stated that preliminary balance of payments (BOP) estimates for the first nine months of 2014 indicate an overall deficit of US$12.80 million, lower than the surplus of US$13.84 million in the corresponding period last year.

It also stated that the current account deficit rose to US$97.48 million compared to a deficit of US$50.38 million during the corresponding period in 2013.

Under Inflation Outlook, the report said: “Consumer price inflation, measured by the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), accelerated to 6.9 per cent in December 2014, from 5.6 per cent in December 2013.”

The above was the state of affairs three months ago. The developments that have taken place between February and now are yet to be made clear to us. Why?

“The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.”

Jacob Lew

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