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Gambia inflation jumps to 6.9%

Inflation in the West Afri can state of Gambia went up to 6.9% at the end of January, up from 5.4% for the same period last year, Mr. Mod o u Bamba Saho, Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, announced here on Frid a y.

Speaking during a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, he said money supply grew by 19.3% for the 12-month period to January 2009 compared to 3.9% in the pr e ceding year.

“Total domestic credit increased to D6.7 billion in January 2009, or 51.9% from a year ago,” Mr. Saho said.

He said the banking industry remained sound, adding that total industry’s assets rose by 19.5% to D12.5 billion year-on-year as at end-December 2008.

“Data on government fiscal operations indicated that revenue and grants amounted to D3.6 billion in 2007,” he said, attributing the decline in revenue and grant s to the decrease in indirect tax and non-tax revenue and the less-than-expected g rant receipts.

The overall budget balance (including grants) on commitment basis deteriorated t o a deficit of D490.2 million (2.7% of GDP) in 2008 from a surplus of D27.7 mill i on (0.2% of GDP) in 2007.

Mr. Saho said as at the end of January 2009, the total outstanding domestic debt stood at D5.9 billion (31.2% of GDP). Treasury bills accounting for 79.7% of to t al domestic debt declined by 1.2% to D4.71 billion.

In the year ending January 2009, the Dalasi, Gambia’s local currency, depreciate d against major international currencies traded in the inter-bank market except t he British Pound, reflecting the impact of the global financial crisis on remitt a nces and tourism as well as increased demand for foreign exchange to meet the hi g h cost of imports.

The dalasi weakened against the dollar and euro by 16.7% and 1.9% respectively, Mr. Saho stated.

He added that the dalasi, however, appreciated against the British Pound by 15.9 % from December 2008 to the end of January 2009.

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