CENTRAL BANK OF THE GAMBIA
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CENTRAL BANK OF THE GAMBIA

Monetary Policy Committee

Press Release                                                                      May 9, 2017

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on May 8, 2017 to assess domestic and international macroeconomic and financial developments, the outlook for the second half of 2017 and decide on the stance of monetary policy.

Global Economic Developments

  1. The pace of global economic growth is picking up somewhat driven largely bybuoyant financial markets, recovery in manufacturing and trade. The IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) release of April 2017 projected global growth to increase from 3.1 percent in 2016 to 3.5 percent in 2017. However, the downside risks to global growth would stem principally from rising protectionism, tighter global financial conditions and deepening geopolitical tensions as well as structural challengessuch as low productivity growth and high income inequality. Global inflation has increased lately as commodity prices, particularly energy, began to recover.
  1. Growth in advanced economies is projected at 2.0 percent in 2017, up from1.7percentin 2016. Growth is expected to be supported largely by strong growth in United States and United Kingdom. Activity in emerging market and developing economies is projected to remain broadly stable at 4.5 percent in 2017 and 4.8 percent in 2018from 4.1 percent in 2016. Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to expand by 2.6 percent, from1.4 percent in 2016,reflecting largely recovery in Nigeria and South Africa as commodity and oil prices rebound.

The Domestic Economy
Real GDP 

  1. At the domestic front, economic activity slowed in 2016 owing to weak agricultural output, the limited availability of foreign exchange which impacted trade, the effect of the political impasse on tourism during the later part of the year and tight credit conditions. The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) estimated real GDP growthat2.2 percent in 2016, lower than the 4.3 percent in 2015.  Agricultural output grew by 0.5 percent in 2016, lower than the growth of 7.0 percent in 2015attributedmainly to poor cropping season.  Industry value-added contracted by 3.1 percent in 2016 from a growth of 8.2 percent in 2015 owing to marked contraction in construction and manufacturing sub-sectors. However, services value-added grew by 5.1 percent during the same period supported mainly by developments in whole sale and retail trade. Economic activity is expected to pick up slightly in 2017 premised on normal cropping season, recovery in trade and tourism, improved macroeconomic policies and restoration of confidence in the economy.

Money and Banking Sector Developments

  1. Growth in key monetary aggregates picked up significantly in the year to end- March, 2017. Broad money (M2) grew by 14.4percentin March, 2017 compared to 0.7 percenta year earlier partly reflecting the uptick in the net foreign assets (NFA) of the banking system coupled with strong growth in the monetary base. The net domestic assets (NDA) of the banking system rose by 10.2 percent to D22.2 billion.
  1. Reserve money, the Central Bank’s operating target, grew by 18.1 percent in the year to end-March 2017 from 11.9 percent a year earlier. This was solely as a result of the 10.2 percent increase in the NDA of the Central Bank. 

 

  1. The banking sector remains profitable and adequately capitalised. The industry risk-weighted capital adequacy ratio averaged 35.4 percent, a slight decline from 36.5 percent in March 2016. Total assets increased to D33.48 billion in the year to end-March 2017, or 13.9 percent from a year ago attributed primarily to 27.5 percent increase in balances due from other banks. Gross loans and advances which accounted for 12.1 percent of total assets, decreased by 21.4 percent to D4.1 billion. The ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans was 8.4 percent in March, 2017, lower than the 9.3 percent in December 2016.
  1. The stock of domestic debt is largely short-term withaverage maturity period of less than one year and has significant rollover risks.  Stock of domestic debt was D29.8 billion at end-March 2017 (68.1percent of GDP) compared to D23.6 billion (54.6 percent of GDP) in March 2016.The outstanding stock of Treasury bills and Sukuk AL Salam (SAS) combined(61.7 percent of the debt), stood at D18.4 billion,   or 21.7percent from a year ago.However, commitment by the government to the implementation of prudent fiscal policy is expected to stabilize the domestic debt in the medium term.

 

  1. Yields on all the Government securities are trending down amid high level of liquidity in the system. The yield on the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day Treasury bills declined from 17.66 percent, 18.24 percent and 22.12percentin March 2016 to 10.1 percent, 12.1 percent and 13.3 percent respectively in March 2017.Similarly, the yield on the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day SAS fell from17.54 percent, 18.27 percent and 22.13 percent in March 2016 to 10.4 percent, 12.7 percent and 13.9 percent respectively in March 2017.

Government Fiscal Operations

  1. Preliminary data on government fiscal operations for the first two months of 2017 indicated that total revenue and grants amounted to D1.3 billion, slightly lower than the D1.4 billion outturn in the same period last year. Domestic revenue, comprising tax and non-tax revenue, decreased to D1.1 billion, or 15.6 percent from the same period of 2016.Total expenditure and net lending (including payment of arrears and outstanding commitments) decreased to D1.4 billion, or 10.2 percent over the corresponding period of 2016. 
  1. The budget balance (including grants) on commitment basis amounted to D75.5 million (0.2 percent of GDP) compared to D156.8 million (0.4 percent of GDP) in the same period in 2016.

External Sector
Exchange Rate Developments

  1. In the year to end-April2017, volume of transactions in the domestic foreign exchange market, as measured by aggregate sales and purchases, rose to US$1.2 billion, higher than the US$0.83 billion a year earlier. The Dalasi depreciated against the US dollar by 10.7 percent, Pound (1.9 percent) and Euro (7.4 percent).

Balance of Payments Developments

  1. Provisional balance of payments estimates for the fourth quarter of 2016 indicate an overall deficit of US$3.5 million, lower than the deficit of US$7.8 million in the corresponding quarter of 2015.The current account deficit increased to US$36.0 million, compared to the deficit of US$16.5 million in the same quarter of 2015.Of the components of the current account, the goods account deficit increased from US$53.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 to US$63.5 million during the quarter under review.
  1. The services account surplus decreased to US$7.4 million compared to US$17.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.  Current transfers rose to US$33.7 million relative to the US$25.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 reflecting largely the increase in workers’ remittances from US$24.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 to US$43.0 million in the quarter under review. The income account deficit widened to US$13.6 million compared to US$6.1 million in the same quarter in 2015. The capital and financial account recorded a deficit of US$0.5 million, lower than the US$16.2 million deficit registered in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Inflation Outlook

  1. Consumer price inflation, measured by the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), rose to 8.7 percent in March 2017from7.0percent in March 2016. The increase in headline inflation was due to the marked increase in both food and non-food inflation. Food inflationrose from 8.2percent in March 2016 to 9.5 percent in March 2017 reflecting mainly the increase in bread cereals, fish and nuts from 9.1 percent, 10.4 percent, and 4.4 percent in March 2016 to 11.0 percent, 12.1 percent and 7.4 percent in March 2017 respectively. Similarly, non-food inflation rose to 7.1 percent in March 2017 from 5.3 percent in March 2016 driven mainly by the increase in the prices of “clothing materials, garments and textiles” to 7.9 percent in March 2017 from 7.1 percent in March 2016.

 

Decision

  1. The MPC expects inflation to moderate going forward predicated on the strong commitment by the fiscal authorities to return to sustainability, projected increase in inflows and restoration of confidence. This is expected to dampen inflationary pressures and stabilize the exchange rate.  The MPC, therefore, decided to reduce the monetary policy rate from 23 percent to 20 percent. The Committee would continue to monitor developments in the economy and act appropriately should the economic conditions change.

 

 

‘ENHANCING FINANCIAL LITERACY AND CAPACITY BUILDING ON ISLAMIC FINANCIAL INSTRUEMENTS (IFIs) – PROJECT NUMBER: 2014 – GAMFINAN -061
 PRESS RELEASE – CBG WEBSITE

The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA) secured funding from the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMEC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to implement a project titled “Enhancing Financial Literacy and Capacity Building on Islamic Financial Instruments (2014-GAMFINAN-061)”. This project is geared towards enhancing literacy and capacity in Islamic Financial Instruments (IFIs) with a view towards promoting their increased availability in the COMCEC member countries of The Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. It is envisaged that an increase in the level of awareness and the visibility of IFIs within the targeted countries will have spill-over effects in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, while also strengthening the solidarity between COMCEC member states. The project commenced in April 2015 and ended in September 2015 and was implemented by the Financial Supervision Department (FSD) of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), through a Project Implementation Team (PIT) comprised of a Focal Person (Mr. Bai Madi Ceesay, MOFEA), the Responsible Authority for the implementation of the project (Mr. Essa Drammeh, CBG), a Project Coordinator (Mr. Alieu B. Senghore) and the FSD Team.

The project deliverables included:

  • A baseline survey report on the current Islamic financial sectors of the project countries.
  • A study tour to Malaysia, the leading Islamic Finance hub in the world, for a group of financial supervisors from the Central Bank of The Gambia, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Sierra Leone to study the country’s Islamic finance sector.
  • A regional workshop that was held at Ocean Bay Ocean Bay Hotel on September 14th and 15th 2015 to deliberate on the steps and mechanisms that could be put in place to develop the respective Islamic financial sectors of the project countries that had participants drawn from the banking and insurance regulators of Nigeria and Sierra Leone respectively and from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), as well as a number of key stakeholders from The Gambia, which included participants from the Central Bank of The Gambia, the private sector (all banks and insurance companies), Shariah scholars, tertiary/training institutions and relevant government departments and agencies.

This project is in line with the CBG’s vision to position The Gambia as a leading Islamic finance hub in Africa. The CBG is of the view that the private sector will be the key anchor of any strategy to promote the use of Islamic Finance Instruments in the country and as such would like to drive the awareness of the project to private sector participants and solicit their support in the CBG’s continued efforts to develop the broad Islamic finance sector in the country and the sub-region.

The CBG would like to thank all the local, regional and international institutions that supported the implementation of this project, with special mentions going to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA), Bank Negara Malaysia, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL), Nigeria Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and Sierra Leone Insurance Commission (SLICOM). The CBG would also like to thank COMCEC for funding the project.

 

 

 

Monetary Policy Committee

Press Release                                                                                  August 5th, 2015

 

Global Economic Developments

  1. Since the last Monetary Policy Committee(MPC)meeting, the outlook of the global economy has been characterized by heightened uncertainty relating to the debt crisis in Greece, sharp decline in equity prices in China and slowdown in economic activity. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth for 2015from what was predicted in the April 2015 World Economic Outlook. Global economic activity is now projected to grow by 3.3 percent in 2015 compared with 3.4 percent in 2014 and down from the estimate of 3.5 percent.
  2. Growth in the advanced economies is projected to expand from 1.8 percent in 2014 to 2.1 percent in 2015. US economic growth accelerated in the second quarter owing primarily to the pick-up in consumer spending. Also, first quarter GDP, previously reported to have contracted by 0.2 percent was revised upward to a growth of 0.6 percent. The steady, but slow improvement in the Euro area continued, following better-than-expected output in the first quarter. The Euro area is forecast to grow by 1.5 percent in 2015unchanged from the April2015 forecast. However, the outlook for the region would depend on avoiding negative spillovers from the Greek debt crisis.
  3. Growth inemerging markets and developing economies is projected to moderatefrom 4.6 percent in 2014 to 4.2 percent in 2015.The Chinese economy grew by 7 percent year-on-yearin the second quarter, but some moderation is expected in the coming quarters. Output growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected at 4.2 percent from 5.0 percent in 2014 owing in part to the marked decline in commodity prices and rising geopolitical tensions in some countries.
  1. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 165.1 points in June 2015, down 1.5 points (0.9 percent) from the previous month and almost 44 points (21.0 percent) from June 2014.  Price movements diverged with pronounced decline in the prices of sugar and milk products while cereals and edible oil prices firmed somewhat. Except for a lull in October 2014, the overall Food Price Index has declined every month since April 2014.

 

  1. International oil prices moved within a relatively tight range between US$58 per barrel and US$62 per barrel throughout June 2015. On average, oil prices fell by 3.1 percent in June, but rose a significant 19 percent for the quarter. Recently, prices dropped as global supplies remained plentiful. Higher output by Saudi Arabia, the prospects of resumption of oil exports by Iran and slowdown in global output caused prices to decrease to about US$50 per barrel in the beginning of August 2015.
  1. Global inflationary pressures, particularly in advanced economies, remain benign reinforced by declining commodity prices, including oil. As a result, monetary policy in most advanced and emerging market economies have either remained unchanged or have become more accommodative.

 

The Domestic Economy
Real GDP Growth

  1. The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) has revised downwards the real GDP growth estimate for The Gambia from an earlier estimate of 1.6 percent to 0.5 percent in 2014, citing weaker growth of 3.3 percent in the transport and communication sectors than previously estimated. Growth in the services sector was thus revised to 5.2 percent, lower than the 8.1 percent in 2013 and earlier projection of 6.9 percent.
  1. Agricultural output is estimated to have contracted by 8.4 percent in 2014 compared to the decline of 1.8 percent in 2013. Growth of the industrial sector was estimated at 6 percent, higher than the 4.5 percent in 2013.

 

Money and Banking Sector Developments

  1. In the year to end-June 2015, money supply grew by 11.6 percent compared to 8.2 percent a year earlier. The increase in the growth of broad money was mainly the result of the faster pace of expansion of the net domestic assets (NDA) of the banking sector by 30.4 percent compared to 12.6 percent a year ago. The net foreign assets (NFA) of the banking sector, on the other hand, contracted by 40.1 percent from a smaller contraction of 2.5 percent in June 2014.

 

  1. Of the components of money supply, narrow money, comprising currency outside banks and demand deposits, grew by14.7 percent compared to 14.2 percent a year ago. Quasi money also rose by 8.4 percent, higher than the 2.4 percent in June 2014.

 

  1. Growth in reserve money decelerated to 11.9 percent from 19.7 percent a year ago reflecting the contraction in the NFA of the CBG by 84.0 percent. The NDA of the CBG, on the other hand, rose by 134.7 percent, significantly higher than the 97.2 percent growth in June 2014. CBG’s net claims on government, the main driver of liquidity, rose to D4.3 billion, or 97.8 percent from a year ago.
  1. Total assets of the banking industry increased to D29.04 billion in the year to end-June 2015, or 14.0 percent. However, gross loans and advances,representing 20 percent of total assets, declined to D5.81 billion, or 3 percent. The ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans fell to 11.0 percent in June 2015 from 15.0 percent in June 2014.

 

  1. Capital and reserves totalled D3.95 billion, higher than the D3.41 billion in June 2014. Capital adequacy ratio averaged 38 percent and all the banks met the minimum capital adequacy requirement of 10 percent. Deposit liabilities increased to D16.95 billion, or 12 percent from June 2014. The liquidity ratio stood at 86 percent, significantly higher than the statutory minimum requirement of 30.0 percent
  2. The Return on Assets and Return on Equity declined marginally from 2.5 percent and 15.9 percent respectively inthe first quarter to 2.3 percent and 15.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015.
  1. In the year to end-June 2015, the domestic debt rose to D19.1billion (49.6 percent of GDP), or 30.4 percent from a year earlier. Treasury bills, which accounted for 69 percent of the domestic debt, increased by 9.9 percent whilst the stock of outstanding Sukuk Al Salaam (SAS)contracted by4.5 percent.

 

  1. The yields on all short datedgovernment securities increased. The yield on the91-day, 182-day and 364-day Treasury bills increased from 14.31 percent, 15.95 percent and 18.12 percent in June 2014 to 17.19 percent, 18.46 percent and 21.45 percent in June 2015 respectively.Also, the yield on the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day SAS rose to 17.58 percent, 18.44 percent and 20.54 percent compared to 14.86 percent, 16.40 percent and 18.34 percent respectively in June 2015. Additionally, the weighted average inter-bank rate rose to 16.56 percent at end-June 2015 compared to14.5 percent a year ago.

Government Fiscal Operations

  1. Provisional data on government fiscal operations for the first half of 2015 indicates that total revenue and grants amounted to D5.23 billion (29.8 percent of GDP) compared to D4.34 billion (24.7 percent of GDP) in the corresponding period a year ago. Domestic revenue, comprising tax and non-tax revenue, amounted to D3.8 billion (21.8 percent of GDP), or an increase of 17.0 percent from the corresponding period in 2014.
  1. Tax revenue increased to D3.46 billion, or 27.0 percent higher than the outturn in the corresponding period in 2014. Non-tax revenue, on the other hand, contracted to D630.0 million, or 33 percent.

 

  1. Total expenditure and net lending amounted to D6.1 billion (34.5 percent of GDP) compared to D5.1 billion (28.8 percent of GDP) in the first half of 2014. Recurrent expenditure increased to D3.9 billion,or 17.1 percent from the outturn in the first half of 2014 attributed mainly to the 81 percent increase in interest payments. Capital expenditure also rose to D2.5 billion, higher than the D1.72 billion in the first half of 2014.

 

  1. The overall budget deficit on cash basis, including grants, is estimated at D829.4 million (5 percent of GDP),slightly higher than the deficit of D729.8 million (4 percent of GDP) in the first half of 2014. The budget deficit, excluding grants is estimated at D2.23 billion (13 percent of GDP).

 

External Sector Developments

  1. Provisional balance of payments (BOP) estimates for the first half of 2015 indicate an overall deficit of US$30.5 million, significantly higher than the US$19.0 million in the corresponding period in 2014. The Current account deficit widened to US$65.7 million compared tothe deficit of US$11.0 millionin the first half of 2014. Of the components of the current account, the goods account deficit rose to US$114.7 million compared to the deficit of US$104.0 million in the corresponding period in 2014. Imports rose to US$179.0million, or 3.2percent while exports declined to US$54.1 million, or0.6 percent.
  1. The services account surplus decreasedto US$36.4 million compared to US$59.3 million in the corresponding period a year ago, reflecting in large part the decline in income from tourism. The income account also worsened with the deficit widening to US$14.6 million compared to US$10.7 million in the first six months of 2014 owing primarily to higher external interest payments. Current transfers are estimated at a surplus of US$27.1 million, lower than the surplus of US$45.0 millionin the first half of 2014.Although transfers to general government increased by 6.2 percent to US$11.9 million, worker’s remittances decreased significantly to US$35.4 million.

 

 

  1. As at end-June 2015, gross international reserves amounted to US$97.1million, equivalent to 3.5 months of imports of goods and services compared to US$163.5 million or 5.5 months of imports at end-June 2014.

 

  1. Volume of transactions in the domestic foreign exchange market increased to US$1.28 billion, or 2.4 percent from a year earlier. In the year to end-June 2015, the Dalasi appreciated against the US dollar by 5.6 percent, Euro (24.4 percent) and British Pound (8.1 percent).

Inflation Outlook

  1. Consumer price inflation, measured by the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), accelerated to 7.2 percent in June 2015, from 5.4 percent in June 2014. Food inflation increased to 9.1 percent from 6.2 percent whilst non-food inflation decreased slightly to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent in June 2014. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, accelerated to 7.6 percent in June 2015 from 5.5 percent in June 2014.

Decision

The MPC is concerned that consumer price inflation continue to exceed the target of 5 percent and inflation is forecast to remain at elevated levels.   Failure to act against these heightened pressures may cause prices to acceleratefurther and the high inflation expectations to become more entrenched.

Against this backdrop, the MPC has decided to continue the tight monetary policy stance by: (i) Keeping the policy rate unchanged at 23 percent; and (ii) maintain the reserve requirement at 15 percent of deposit liabilities, but to eliminate cash-in-vault of commercial banksas a reserve asset for the calculation of cash reserve requirement (CRR) with effect from September 01, 2015.  The MPC would continue to monitor domestic and international developments and take action as appropriate.

(1)PRESS RELEASE
ISSUE OF THE NEW FAMILY OF BANKNOTES

 

In February, 2015, the Central Bank of The Gambia announced that the new family of Gambian Banknotes including a new D200 banknote will be issued on the 30th March, 2015. Due to delay in the receipt of publicity materials from the printers, the issue into circulation of these banknotes is now slated for 15th April, 2015.
A nationwide sensitization campaign in connection with the issue into circulation of the new family of Gambian banknotes and proper handling of banknotes will commence on the 13th April, 2015.

BANKING DEPARTMENT
30th MARCH, 2015

 

 

CENTRAL BANK OF THE GAMBIA

(2)PRESS RELEASE

LAUNCH OF COMMEMORATIVE D20.00 POLYMER BANKNOTES, A NEW FAMILY OF GAMBIAN BANKNOTES AND COMMEMORATIVE COINS
The Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia received approval to introduce New Redesigned Family of Gambian Circulation Notes. The change was aimed at reducing the sizes of the national currency notes to achieve efficiency and take advantage of technological developments in the currency industry. The new notes also have advanced security features that would make counterfeiting difficult.

As a result, the CBG on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, launched the following currency notes and coins:

  1. Commemorative D20 Polymer (plastic) banknotes
  2. Commemorative Gold and Gold-Plated Silver coins
  3. Redesigned family of New Banknotes including a D200 banknote

 

The D20 Polymer will be put into circulation on Monday 02nd March, 2015 while the series of redesigned banknotes will be issued on Monday March 30, 2015. The Golden Jubilee Commemorative Gold and Gold Plated Coins will also be available for sale on Monday 02nd March, 2015.

  1. Commemorative D20.00 Polymer Banknote.

This is the first series of Polymer Banknotes to be issued by the CBG and is intended, among other things, to Commemorate 20 Years of the July 22nd Revolution and to be in line with international best practice.
The Polymer Banknote is based on the existing D25.00 note and therefore similar in many aspects except that the colour background of the D20 Polymer banknote is green and bears the portrait of the President, H.E. Sheikh Professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya. A. J. J. Jammeh. The polymer banknotes have a date of 22nd July 2014 with the words “20 Years of Progress and Self-Reliance” written on the centre bottom of the obverse side of the note.

Few critical changes were made to incorporate security features that are unique to only polymer notes to enhance the overall security level of the denomination. However, both the polymer and the current D25.00 notes shall be in circulation side by side and the latter will continue to be legal tender and be in circulation until it is fully withdrawn over time.

  1. New Family of Gambian Banknotes

Furthermore, the CBG will introduce into circulation a New Family of paper base Gambian Banknotes for all other denominations except the D25.00 which will be replaced by the D20.00 note. These notes will include a New D200.00 denomination. A fundamental distinction is that all the notes are smaller in size and all of them bear the portrait of the President. This new family of banknotes will be circulated nationwide along with the existing banknote family of D100.00, D50.00, D25.00, D10.00 and D5.00 until these are fully withdrawn overtime.

  1. New Commemorative Gold and Gold Plated Silver Coins.

In another development, the CBG also introduced New Commemorative Gold and Gold-Plated Silver Coins with face values of D50, 000.00 and D500.00 respectively. This was to commemorate the country`s GOLDEN JUBILEE marking the nation`s  50th INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY on 18th February, 2015.
Commemorative coins are issued in limited quantities and are not meant for general circulation but they are legal tender and available for sale at the Currency Unit of Banking Department of the Central Bank of The Gambia.
Given that The Gambia is a cash-based economy, we urge the general public to handle the notes with utmost care. A massive sensitization campaign will be conducted nationwide very soon.

BANKING DEPARTMENT
February 26th, 2015

Posters - DLR - Gambia A2 Poster - New family of Banknotes