Central Bank Bars Commercial Banks from paying FX Withdrawals in Foreign Currency

Central Bank Governor, Buwah Saidy

The Gambia’s Central Bank has written to all commercial Banks and financial institutions in the country to suspend payments of withdrawals in foreign currency and limit transactions to the local dalasi currency Dalasi.

“Any bank found to have permitted the withdrawal of cash in a foreign currency will be duly penalized as prescribed by the Central Bank,” a letter sent to all banks and seen by Alkamba Times stated.

The letter signed by the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Buwah Saidy said the reserve Bank will continue to monitor the situation and will not hesitate to institute measures against any institution found wanting in the foreign exchange business.

According to officials at the Central bank, market intelligence has indicated that money transfer operators (MTO) are found to be involved in exchange pressure on the Dalasi exchange rate by withdrawing foreign currency from banks and selling at higher prices to importers.

“All banks are hereby directed that foreign currency banknote shipments shall be limited to the funding of Nostro accounts. Customers who bring foreign currency shall sell to the banks rather than shipments being conducted on their behalf to fund their private accounts. this is in line with enhancing our money laundry framework,” the reserve bank dispatch added.

A senior official of one of the private banks told The Alkamba Times that the CBGs decision will have some impact on customers operating foreign currency accounts.

“Well, this means customers now cannot withdraw US dollars from their USD accounts with banks. they must covert it to GMD with the bank and withdraw GMD,’ the official said, adding that it’s a measure by the central bank to control foreign currency inflow and rates.

Sources within the Money Transfer market, normally referred to as MTOs say they are not happy with CBGs decision to prohibit foreign currency withdrawals from foreign currency deposit accounts and shipments of foreign currency banknotes on behalf of customers.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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