Gambian minister for finance and economic affairs, Kebba S. Touray, has warned of risks associated with the country’s heavy debt burden, particularly domestic debt.
Presenting the budget fr 2014 to the National Assembly in Banjul on Monday, he said these risks had intensified significantly in recent months, reflecting difficulties in coping with spending pressures.
Touray said government’s net domestic borrowing had increased sharply, and together with the tightening of monetary policy, led to treasury bill yield rising by some 600 basis points since late May 2013.
He said real GDP growth was expected to grow by 6-6.5 per cent in 2013, up from 5.5 per cent in 2012, driven by a continued recovery in agriculture after the severe drought of 2011, and continued growth in tourism.
Touray said depreciation pressure on the Gambian currency, Dalasi, emerged following low export from the below-average harvest in 2012, increase in domestic debt and lower donor inflows.
He said since the end of 2012, the Dalasi had depreciated 11 per cent against the US Dollar, 12 per cent against the Euro and 9 per cent against the British Pound Sterling.
The minister said as of end of October, gross official international reserves stood at US$160 million, which was equivalent to 4 months of projected imports of goods and services.
Touray said the country’s macroeconomic policy implementation was satisfactory in the first half of 2013, adding that total domestic revenue in 2014 was projected to rise by 21.8 per cent over 2013 principally due to a 20.5 per cent expected rise in tax revenue and a 32.0 per cent projected increase in non-tax revenue.