IMF concluded a staff mission yesterday and according to its press release, the following data points summarise the current state of play of the Gambian economy inherited from Jammeh:
– Economic growth in 2016 is only 2.2 percent, down from 4.3 percent in 2015.
– Annual inflation stands at 8.8 percent in February 2017, driven by higher food prices and the recent depreciation of the dalasi which resulted in increased the domestic price of imported goods. The situation, according to the IMF, is exacerbated by economic mismanagement and massive embezzlement of funds during the previous regime.
– To restore economic stability, concerted policy efforts, as well as support from the international community, are required.
– A key government priority is to bring public spending in line with available resources, thereby drastically reducing domestic borrowing and interest cost.
– Public Enterprises Reforms will be the priority especially for NAWEC and National Telecom and Mobile Operators (GAMTEL/GAMCEL) to restore them on sound financial footing and limit their drain on the national treasury.
According to the IMF release, while the international community has been quick to engage with The Gambia that holds promise for a substantial financial support, this commitment will need to be accompanied by significant domestic efforts to ensure a return to economic growth and stability.
The mission met with President Barrow, Minister of Finance Amadou Sanneh, Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley, other officials in the government and the private sector.
If most of these figures and prescriptions look and sound familiar, they are because they have been the topic of discussion and warning since sidisanneh.blogspot.com started publication in July of 2013.
By Sidi Sanneh