Central Bank building in the hearts of the capital, Banjul

Despite stern warnings to reduce domestic borrowing, by a team of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that visited the country about a year ago, the small West African country is reeling with an outstanding domestic debt that claims the country’s 37% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The outstanding domestic debt increased to D10.7 billion (37% of GDP) in 2012, or 14.3% from a year ago. Treasury bills and Sukuk Al-Salam combined and accounting for 80% of the domestic debt, [which] rose to D8.6 billion, or 21.0%,” says Amadou Kolley, the governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG).

A report by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBG has revealed that the country’s banking industry’s net profit rose from D12.2 million in 2011 to D102.2 million in 2012.

Governor Colley said that the return on assets and return on equity increased to 1.98% and 3.33% compared to 0.26% and 0.46% respectively in 2012.
According to him, the yield on all the maturity profiles increased in 2012 with the exception of the 364-day bills.

“The yield on the 19-day and 182-day bill, it says, increased to 9.53% and 10.21% from 8.07% and 10.18% in 2011. Similarly, the yield on the SAS bills rose to 9.77% from 9.07% during the same period. In contrast, the yield on the 364-day bills declined to 10.9% from 11.85% in December 2011.”

The provisional balance of payments estimates for the first nine months of 2012 indicates an overall deficit of US$64.47 compared to a surplus of US$64.14 million in the corresponding period a year ago. The deficit in the financial account widened to US$28.35 million from US$0.34 million in the corresponding period in 2011, ” he added.

Colley observed that Gross International Reserves stood at US$184.5 million as at end of December 2012, equivalent to about 5.0 months of imports of goods and services. “The volume of transactions in the domestic foreign exchange market, measured by aggregate purchase and sales, increased to US$1.6 billion in 2012 from US$1.4 billion in 2011.”

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