Gambian President has lifted an embargo on the exchange rate. President Yahya Jammeh in May this year imposed an exchange rate overhaul by more than 20 per cent.
In a televised statement, the office of the President announced regularising the rising amount of exchange rate against the dalasi. “Effective today 4th May, no bank or individual should exchange the US dollars for more than 45 dalasis. The new trading rate for the dollar is put between D35 to D45. Rates for other foreign currencies will be announced soon. In the same vein, no one is allowed to take out of the Gambia any amount more than 10,000 dollars, pounds or euros without approval from the office of the president.”
Mr. Jammeh has now blinked and rescinded the earlier directive. But his miscalculated decision gas left The Gambia’s fragile economy bleeding.
“The pegging of the dollar exchange rate against the Dalasi is hereby repealed. Trading in the foreign exchange market is to be determined by market forces as par The Gambia’s commitment to a flexible exchange rate regime.
“The Office of the President urges players in the foreign exchange and other markets to play by the rules and advises traders to eschew the practice of hoarding and undue speculation.
“While reiterating our commitment to free market policies, Government will ensure that players in the market conform to the rules and regulations that govern free markets.”
Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have raised concern about the damage caused by the unjustifiable presidential directive, which has already left its negative footprint on the country’s near-term economic outlook. Another bruise caused by Jammeh’s impromptu directive is the increase economic vulnerabilities in a country whose import cover is less than three months, a situation capable of causing shortage of consumable goods. And to top it all, the directive has not brought about any reduction of goods and services. It has only impacted negatively on the foreign exchange market and the banking system.