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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Country focus: The Gambia Re: the financial, economic and other ramifications of printing new currency and minting new coins

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Momodou Camara (Acca)

The timing and introduction of the new banknotes and minting of coins-(if any) is bad and ill conceived. From our financial news terminal here at Money and Markets @ Standard Newspaper, we have been looking at the latest move by the Central Bank of The Gambia.

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We are also analyzing this infamous weak link strategy dipped from a bag where there are more pressing issues to confront in stabilizing our struggling economy.

We are of the opinion that it is more of political sense and patronage than economic sense in the reality of realities in a New Gambia. We have in conclusion agreed it was a wrong move at a wrong time when the nation is battling against lot of threats seen or perceived.

The most prominent among many are the defining issues of a country in transition and a disintegrated coalition, a near-failed-economy and reforms and restructuring of our national institutions.

However, @ Money and Markets we will focus on the finances and the economics of the nitty-gritties as we look at the introduction of new banknotes that are due to hit our streets, banks, homes and economic districts very soon.

Whatever are the motives of the printing of the new banknotes and minting of new coins-(if any) should be have been well researched, debated and discussed to capture diverse views and expert views as a way forward in turning a new chapter and a departure from the past.

Cleanse the Central Bank before
circulation of the new banknotes
From a financial journalistic point of view, we frown on certain moves and actors in the whole project of printing new banknotes and minting of coins-(if any) by the Central Bank.

As a government institution entrusted with the printing of banknotes and minting of coins there should have been a deep house cleansing after the falls of Jammeh.

Nothing changed at the Central Bank and this is the same institution that has presided over poor policies, weak economic directives, numerous ill calculated printing of banknotes and minting of coins to please President Jammeh for the past two decades.

The same people remained and doing what they are best at doing-ENABLING DICTATORS AND DICTATORSHIPS in The Gambia.

The Central Bank of The Gambia should have been cleanse of all Jammeh Enablers and not just heap the trash on two or five key leaders of the banks in the leadership of a very shy and poor Abdou Colley. The rot is still there and the virus is more present within the ranks of the bank as it was during the Jammeh Era.

This move of printing new banknotes and minting of coins-(if any) is just a juicy mathematical calculation bait to win over the hearts and minds of our new leaders.

Please do not fall for it! Our public institutions are manned by Board of Directors, Managing Directors, Directors and Top Managements who are very good and committed to misleading leaders and make them fail.

Be careful of what they send to you for approval! Before the printing of any new banknotes and minting of coins-(if any) the Central Bank of The Gambia should be cleansed and a new trusted and professional leadership be ushered to see us through a new Gambia, into a new era.

This will foster in a very new administration at the Central Bank in whom the public will have vested interest and trust in their activities, roles and responsibilities of the Central Bank of The Gambia.

Jammeh looted versus Jammeh didn’t loot
The Central Bank is culpable and as Financial journalists, commentators and concerned citizens we are still waiting for the outcome of the debate between Hon. Mai Fatty in then in Dakar-Republic of Senegal as part of President’s entourage and Hon. Halifa Sallah then as the spokesman of the Coalition Government on the theme: JAMMEH LOOTED THE COFFERS AND LEFT THE CENTRAL BANK EMPTY! In his most disciplined and attention to details as in the small prints, Hon. Halifa Sallah objected and said what was the determining factor(s) to the amounts looted and how was it arrived at? The debate started and stopped and we as a nation are very interested in how much Jammeh looted? We are also interested in who and who benefitted from the loot and where were the Central Bank officials and most prominently the Board of Directors of the Bank? Where were the security and the drivers and the vaults key custodians and the rest of it? How can only five people be axed and where are the rest of the enablers? This is a sensitive time when we are yet again on the threshold of allowing them to print and circulate new banknotes and minting of coins- (if any) in a New Gambia.

After keenly watching, listening and reading everything about the Halifa versus Mai debate, I have taken a position to side with Halifa.

My reason(s) for that vote is on the point that of facts and substance. Financial statements and financial protocols dictate that you cannot project or make public allegations of financial malpractices without an audit.

In this saga there should have been a deep audit on the issues and the public have a right to know but we are still waiting! Financial statements are not presentable for the public view and debate without an audit by firms of Certified Chartered Accountants.

To this day after all most two years, we are still waiting for the reports that will establish how much Jammeh looted. The audit would also have revealed how much was left at the Central Bank on months, weeks, days and on the eve of Jammeh’s exile to Equitorial Guinea. Hon. Hallifa Sallah was right and until the time when Hon. Mai Fatty left the government and subsequently being brought back there has been no official closure to the debate which is of great interest to many Gambians, International Organisations and partners.

The debate has been dosed and the noise just died down or better still swept away. As a public who has a right to know and par take in the debates that will shape this country we must not always allow critical issues such as this issue to just be left unresolved.

The Gambia is yet again at the mercy of an Elite Class who are not ethical, corruption prone and selfish to the core and interested only in their pockets and personal well being.

This notion is also compounded by the problem of a silent and docile public who are not interested in holding leaders accountable and true to their agendas and positions.

I hope we will all work hard to preserve the gains of democracy and to those entrusted with public positions to be ethical and dutiful to The Gambia.

It is very interesting to note here that same Central Bank is sitting quietly and never communicating to the Gambian public and other stakeholders the true status of the Bank as Jammeh left it as the weeks, months and years roll by and the public has gone to sleep on those sensitive issues.

Where is also the National Assembly in all these QUESTION MARKS and what did the PAC/PEC or the PAC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SELECT COMMITTEE seen and not seen after two sittings in the last two years on the issues of what Jammeh looted and did not loot at the Central Bank? That debate must be closed and I wish to suggest a symposium by the University of The Gambia-UTG where Halifa, Mai, The Central Bank and the public be invited to debate and sensitise the wider general public on the issues.

The Central Bank of The Gambia has a lot of rebranding, face make up, restructuring and sensitization to do in order to win back the public and International Partners’ trust and confidence. This is the truth and we must make sure we change things for the better and become an open and accountable society and in our institutions.

The Central Bank of the Gambia does not have the professional, ethical and moral high ground in these trying and testing times to print any new banknotes and minting of coins-(if any) until their house is put in order.

If we are serious of developing this country and propagating democracy and good governance we must start to go back to the rules books and do what is right in the small issues and the short term issues all forming and leading into solving the big issues in the long term agendas. We can transform this country into an oasis of prosperity and a bastion of democracy when we are ready to fight corruption and encourage ethical living and professional behavior.
Stick with me and with The Standard for part four.

THE CURRENCY MARKETS

*** All quoted figures are as per the 11th. June, 2019 and are indicative only.
THE COMMODITY MARKETS IN THE GREATER BANJUL AREAS

*** All quoted figures are as per the 11th. June, 2019
GREAT SURVIVAL QUOTES OF THE WEEK
1. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back
By- Oscar Wilde
2. Let him that would move the world first move himself.
By- Socrates
3. We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough.
By- Helen Keller
4. It is better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand days as a lamb.
By-Roman proverb
5. Life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you’ve got.
By-Tim Cook
6. Each day provides its own gifts.
By-Marcus Aurelius
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
By-Duke Ellington
7. Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
By-Mark Twain
8. Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
By-Winston Churchill
9. The knowledge of happiness brings the knowledge of unhappiness.
By-Swami Vivekananda

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