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Friday, July 19, 2024

Inflation is a public enemy: Monetary laxity of the Finance Minister

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Mr President, I do not need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that the person in the name of Seedy Keita, to whom you entrust the economic affairs of the state, lacks the competence, intellectual pedigree and focus to rescue us from our current economic predicament. Instead of correcting the mistakes of his predecessor, Minister Keita’s naivety and lack of focus is putting our economy at more risk.

The ill-conceived and malicious salary increment championed by him (Keita) had certainly contributed to the rise in expectation and inflationary pressure which now goes beyond his control. Taking us through a rough ride for the past five months should wake your minister to grapple with the reality on the ground.

Unfortunately, your solution provider came with another inflationary budget with increased general taxes on goods and services and deficit financing as well. This suggests a lax monetary policy and social injustice against the poor and unemployed. The objective of every serious government under the current economic situation is correcting deficient and excess demand in the economy. Through such endeavours, economic stability is attainable.

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The minister’s relentless increase in spending has an unpleasant welfare effect on our economy. Inflationary pressure continues to increase due to the lax monetary policy and obsession of your government with expansionary fiscal policy without giving any regard to its impact on the lives of average Gambians.

May I bring it to the attention of the minister and the President as well that the draft budget estimate tabled before NAMs failed all the characteristics of deflation and shall be barely meaningless to tackle the equitable distribution of income and poverty alleviation? 

President Gerald Ford declared inflation as a public enemy adding that “politicians have won elections with promises to combat inflation, only to lose after failing to do so”. The conduct of your Finance Minister clearly explained the lack of commitment in your government to curb the current unprecedented inflationary pressure. The National Assembly Members should scrap such an ill-advised budget for not only failing the test of the current economic hardship in the country but also for the financial malfeasance of the government.

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While we are told about the continued rise in expectations and inflationary pressure, policymakers like Seedy Keita refused to show any intention of keeping economic activities temporarily low to bring down inflation.

Moreover, the masses should increasingly rely on the influence of Central Bank to control inflation expectations during such periods. However, the credibility of our Central Bank is seriously fading away to make any influential pronouncement on the inflation expectation.

Certainly, it’s tormenting and disheartening that the draft budget and economic recession under the Barrow administration have contravened the economic objectives of the Gambia as stated in section 215 of the constitution. 

Ebrima Jarra

BSc; Islamic Banking and Economics

Aljamdou Village

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