Gambia’s domestic debt hits 59% of GDP

Governor Colley

Governor Amadou Colley

The domestic debt of The Gambia has now reached D22.6 billion, equaling 59% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, Central Bank has revealed today.

The current domestic debt level represents a jump of about D3.8 billion from last year.

“In the year to end-December 2015, the domestic debt stood at D22.6 billion (59.1 percent of GDP) from D18.8 billion (53.0 percent of GDP) in 2014,” the country’s Central Bank governor, Amadou Colley, revealed.

“Treasury bills and Sukuk Al Salaam, accounting for 67.7 percent and 2.63 percent of the debt stock, increased by 4.3 percent and 0.02 percent respectively.”

The governor of the apex bank made these revelations at a meeting of the bank’s monetary policy committee at their headquarters in Banjul.

Colley also revealed that the current account deficit of the country has “widened to US$115.2 million compared to the deficit of US$81.8 million in 2014”.

He added that of the components of the current account, “the goods account recorded a deficit of US$250.3 million”, higher than the deficit US$217.8 million in 2015.

“As at end-December 2015, gross international reserves amounted to US$76.0 million, equivalent to 2.5 months of import cover, lower than the US$111.6 million, or 4.5 months of import cover in December 2014,” he also revealed.

The governor also unveiled that the volume of transactions in the domestic foreign exchange market has decreased to US$0.75 billion in 2015 compared to US$1.42 billion in 2014.

However, he said in December 2015, the Dalasi appreciated against the US Dollar by 12.2 percent, Pound Sterling, 12.6 percent and Euro, 23.0 percent.

On the inflation outlook, Colley said consumer price inflation, measured by the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), decelerated to 6.7 percent in December 2015, from 6.9 percent in December 2014.

He said the improvement was primarily as a result of the decline in food inflation from 8.43 percent in December 2014 to 4.83 percent in December 2015.

In contrast, non-food inflation, the governor said, increased from 4.8 percent in December 2014 to 5.17 percent in December 2015.

“Central Bank of The Gambia’s measure of core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile food items, utilities and energy, decreased to 6.7 percent in December 2015 compared to 6.9 percent in December 2014,” he said.

Despite challenges, Governor Colley said key financial soundness indicators show that the fundamentals of the banking industry remain strong despite a slump in profit a year earlier.

“The industry risk-weighted capital adequacy ratio averaged 32.6 percent in 2015, higher than the required minimum of 10.0 percent,” he said

“Total assets of the industry increased to D29.3 billion, or 3.8 percent from 2014… The industry recorded net profit of D604.0 million, but lower than D624 million in 2014. The return on assets was 2.1 percent and the return on equity (13.5 percent) compared to 2.2 percent and 15.9 percent respectively in 2014.”

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