By Tabora Bojang
The governor of the Central Bank has revealed plans to create an investment bank to help finance productive sectors of the Gambian economy.
Addressing a press conference at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting Wednesday, Governor Buah Saidy said when set up, the bank will increase access to finance and boost job creation for businesses in key sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure.
Saidy said the country’s apex bank has been restructured in line with its mandate to participate in the economic development of the country.
“The CBG is trying to participate in the economic development of the country. There is a quantum of money that is approved by the board in this year’s budget that we want to use to support certain sectors of the economy, so that we are food self-sufficient. We want to support agriculture, rice production, animal husbandry and poultry, and fish farming,” he added.
According to the governor, the initiative is premised on a five-year programme which hopes to end the country’s continuous reliance on imported rice.
“This country needs money for these developments and there needs to be an avenue where you can have money. The bulk of monies received by commercial banks are short term deposits and if they want to go into lending medium to long term, there will be a mismatch in their balancing. This is why we want to create a development bank or an investment bank where you have money from 5, 10 to 30 years, and the money will be lent to the agriculture sector, the production sector, industries, manufacturing, energy sector, and infrastructure. Once the capital market is set up, we will be able to attract investment from abroad, and private money from outside can come through. We have to create commercial farmers who will connect with outgrowers to make sure whatever we want to produce we have it in large quantities. Our intention is not to make profit but to make sure we transform the country and improve people’s income and quality of life. We will give those loans at very minimal rates to small and medium size businesses so that they can grow and form a company or an industry”.
According to the governor, the country is endowed with the resources, the land, water and labour to realise these projections.
He disclosed that a capital market authority will also be created in the coming months to be followed by sensitisation and training of persons who will be supervising and regulating the capital market.