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.