On Gambia’s economy!

Sep 18, 2020, 10:37 AM

The outbreak of coronavirus or simply COVID-19 has disrupted the global economies and The Gambia is not an exception.

The advent of the disease and its economic impact is highly uncertain, which makes it difficult for policymakers to formulate an appropriate macroeconomic policy response.

There is no gainsaying that maintaining sound macro-economic growth is the cornerstone for sustained and inclusive development. But these sound economic ideals seem to be a far fetch dreams for countries around the globe amid the global pandemic.

On Thursday at the National Assembly, the president of the republic, Adama Barrow during his State of the Nation Address (SONA} hinted that the country could witness a 4% decline in economic growth this year with more than 50,000 Gambians having already lost their jobs due to Covid-19.

The pandemic already has dire consequences on The Gambia as a nation especially on the economy and employment.

Relying primarily on tourism, agriculture and foreign aid, The Gambia is among nations badly hit by the coronavirus.

Major contributing sectors such as travel and tourism were the first to be paralysed by the pandemic. It is an undisputed fact that travel and tourism account for a significant percentage in terms of employment while also contributing a great deal to the economy.

The leading contributor being agriculture, providing 75% to 80% in terms of Gross Domestic Product, was another sector badly hit by the pandemic. Another area of concern is the decline in import volumes and economic activities will correspondingly lead to shortfalls in import duties and other tax revenues.

This has led to the country to experience a slowdown of economic growth due to the reduction of economic activities as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though, the obstacle is not only faced by developed countries in returning to growth, but also the deteriorating economic and fiscal conditions faced by many emerging, middle income, and developing economies.

However, the devastating effects of the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the pandemic also have a dire consequence on the populace. Imagine how poor households would cope with such a situation, especially those who survived from hand-to-mount and after the sale of their produce at the local markets?

We therefore welcome the president’s move to lift the lockdown on economic activities so as to fully to mitigate the wrath of the measure.

"Through hard work and education, we can deliver a strong economy and opportunity for all."

Julia Gillard