Mar 30, 2021, 10:35 AM
Despite the coming into force on 1st January 2021 of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), obstacles still persists in ensuring the free flow of goods and services within the continent.
The depreciation of the dalasi against major currencies particularly the U.S. Dollar is a cause for concern.
The exchange rates of the U.S. Dollar to the dalasi increased significantly to about 8% from D54 and D59 to one dollar within one week.
We welcome the development of foreign exchange regulation by the Central Bank to stop speculation and reduce chances of money laundering.
Mr. President, the directive for the prohibition of FX cash withdrawal from Foreign Currency Deposit (FCD) Account and Shipment of FXBank notes on behalf of Customers and the sale of MTO FX proceeds to third parties (outside the banking institutions.) will help in saving the much needed foreign exchange in the banking sector.
We hope these steps will ease the pressure on the demand of the U.S. dollar.
Mr. President, the U.S. Dollar being the major currency of global trade has a large impact on the prices of energy, building materials, textiles, fuel, and most basic food commodities.
Therefore a more stable foreign exchange rate of the dollar will make many commodities and energy affordable to the Gambian people.
Mr. President on another note, your government should be commended for subsidising flour price effective last Friday. The breakthrough between the Bakery Association and the government is indeed laudable.
The flour was costing D2100 per bag and the government has brought it down to D1900 and paying the difference of D200. Had this not happened, a loaf of bread would have been increased from D10 to D15.
It is important to note that Russia and Ukraine were suppliers of flour and the war between these two countries has greatly affected the prices of flour and many other commodities.
Mr. President, your government should reconstitute the Commission of Lands to solve the complaints of many people allegedly cheated by some estate agencies who sell plots of land to different people.
There are many such cases at the police and courts and these cases take a long time before the ruling is given.
All estate agents of land who defraud their customers should be charged and punished and their agencies closed.
The Ministry of Lands should intervene in these land issues as many Gambians are falling victim of most of these estate dealers.
Physical Planning should also be involved in the demarcation of lands to allocate markets, schools, churches, mosques, cemeteries and public utilities etc.
Finally Mr. President, the Social Security and housing scheme is credible and can make difference if the government allocates lands. Government workers and other people working in the private sector can benefit as they did in the past. Many people benefited without problems, and it will be good to start it again during your tenure in office.
The speed and scope of the coronavirus outbreak have taken world governments by surprise and left the stock market reeling. Since the virus first appeared in China's Hubei province, it has infected over 700,000 people and killed more than 33,000 across the world in less than six months.
Mr. President, the West African region is in serious trouble with some leaders wanting to overstay and manipulate the electoral process to win elections which is causing a lot of their people to lose precious lives. This is not fair to our democracy and rule of law.