(JollofNews) – International Monetary Fund (IMF) Gambia office Tuesday lauched the October 2017 report on the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
The report is an IMF flagship that provide analysis of cross-country and spillover effects within SSA. It discusses the recent economic developments and the outlook for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and key challenges confronting regional policy makers. It also provide country-specific data and economic forecasts and analytical chapters on issues of interest to the region.
The IMF resident representative Ruby E.M Randal said Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth has picked-up but is set to remain subdued with a recovery of about 6 to 7%.
She said Gambia’s treasury bills are coming down following the not too careful expenditure on fuel supply to the country’s power house NAWEC which has been eating too much into the economy. “With the liberalization of NAWEC, now there is expected improvement.”
The Fund’s April 2017 Sub-Saharan Africa regional economic outlook report classified Gambia as the highest debtor among the region’s IMF Member countries with a 120 percent debt compared to Guinea Bissau which holds only 46%.
Gambia is followed on the debt ratio by its closest neighbouring country Senegal with 57%, Guinea 56%, and the West African regional bloc, Ecowas with 29%.
Ms. Randall said for a quicker pick-up, there is need for economic diversification.
The country’s current erratic power and water supply failure is seriously slowing down business, bringing up negative impact on the economy. It is not sure whether the problem is a deliberate act by the government to reduce expenditure but it is anchoring a lot of lose in revenue to the government.
With a slow pick-up in economy, Gambian banks, for instance are only involved in commercial banking with less or no investment plan. Gambians are today feeling the pain from the pinch of the flan buoyant expenditure attitude of the country’s former regime.
Ms. Randall said in the context of bilateral country surveillance, funders want to enhance transparency and the nature of discussion with authorities will be on policy recommendations and responses on government position.
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of fiance and economic affairs Lamin Camara said the biggest problem of Gambia’s economy is that it has been building public debt on high interest rate.
“We are now reducing our appetite of borrowing. Government is now trying to correct itself by trying to bring down the 120% debt rate to at least 80 or 70%.”