Addressing the National Assembly Members during his State of Nation Address on Thursday at the parliament Chambers, Mr. Barrow said the pandemic has dire consequences on The Gambia as a nation especially on the economy and employment.
“The Gambia has been experiencing a slowdown of economic growth due to the reduction of economic activities as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” President Barrow said. “An initial analysis shows that GDP growth rates this year could decline from six per cent (6%) to two per cent (2%).
“The decline in import volumes and economic activities will correspondingly lead to shortfalls in import duties and other tax revenues,” Mr. Barrow said.
As a result, the president said the country is expected to witness a loss in revenue.
“Based on the current situation, an estimated twenty per cent (20%) of expected revenue will be lost.
“The total estimated fiscal impact from the decline in import duties and other tax revenues is 2 billion, three hundred thousand million dalasis (D2.3 billion); that is, 2.4 per cent of GDP.”
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) projects that the fiscal deficit will widen from 1.5 percent of GDP to 2.1 per cent of GDP.”
Meanwhile the devastating effects of the lockdown imposed by the Barrow government to prevent the spread of the pandemic are there.
The president himself told the deputies the dire consequences of the lockdown.
“A quick assessment conducted by the Ministry in partnership with The Gambia Bureau of Statistics on the labour market, reveals that job loss is estimated at fifty-two thousand, seven hundred and fifty-two (52,752) employed people in both the formal and informal sectors as a result of the lockdown.
“This will worsen the already high unemployment rate of 35.2%, as reported in 2018.”
For this reason, it is hoped that the president will lift the lockdown on economic activities fully to mitigate the wrath of the measure.