Gambia’s domestic debt increases by D700M- Central Bank Governor

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Gambia's Central Bank Governor Buah Saidy

The Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), Buah Saidy, said Gambia’s domestic debt has increased by more than seven hundred million dalasis (D700m) from 2022 to April 2023.

CBG Governor made this disclosure on Wednesday, 31st May 2023, during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference, where he said headline inflation has increased from 13.7 in 2022 to 17.4 percent as of April 2023.

“The debt stock increased slightly by 1.7 percent, from D38.1 billion in 2022 to D38.8 billion in April 2023. This represents a decline in the debt-to-GDP ratio from 31.5 percent in 2022 to 27.6 percent in April 2023,” CBG Governor Buah Saidy revealed.

He added: “In the year to end April 2023, Treasury and Sukuk Al Salaam bills increased by 4.8 percent to D19.2 billion and accounted for 49.5 percent of outstanding domestic debt.”

According to him, yields on government securities have risen further following the five monetary policy rate hikes since the beginning of the tightening cycle, adding that the weighted average interest rate on treasury bills increased from 4.8 percent in December 2022 to 11.9 percent in 2023.

“Inflationary pressures persist and have become more broad-based than previously anticipated. As a result, headline inflation accelerated to 17.4 percent in April 2023, compared to 13.7 percent in December 2022,” CBG Governor told journalists at a news conference in Banjul.

He added: “Food inflation increased to 22.1 percent in April 2023 from 17.5 percent in January 2023. Price indices of all items in the food basket increased except for meat, oil, bread, and cereals.”

Governor Saidy continues to state that non-food inflation also increased to 12.3 percent from 8.9 percent over the same period in 2022, saying the notable increase in non-food inflation can primarily be attributed to the rise in hospitality and electricity prices.

He reiterated that the Gambian economy remains resilient, with growth averaging just below the pre-pandemic levels. He added that a gradual recovery in tourism activity, public and private sector investment, and stable remittance inflows will continue to support economic recovery.

“Despite the balance of payment challenges, the foreign exchange market is expected to remain stable. Supply conditions will continue to be supported by inflows from tourism, support from development partners, recovery in cashew exports, and private remittance inflows. These are expected to help cushion the domestic currency and provide an avenue to replenish the external reserves of the Central Bank,” Buah Saidy further outlined, among other economic challenges grappling the country.

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