By Tabora Bojang
The Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia has denied that the Nigerian Central Bank agreed to mint the Gambian dalasi.
Nigerian media reported in June that the Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele has agreed to a currency minting proposal from the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia who led a delegation to Nigeria seeking for assistance to print the dalasi there.
During the visit, the Gambian governor reportedly informed his Nigerian counterpart, that Gambia is running very low on currency and that one of the ways the situation can be averted is Nigeria printing the Dalasi.
“Right now we have a situation where we are running very low on currency and at some point I get scared because we cannot at the central bank run out of currency completely as that will be a disaster… We placed an order for three years of currency to be printed but again, the contract with De La Rue since independence they have been printing our currency. [Nigeria] is closer. De La Rue is in London but they do the printing in Malta and also Sri Lanka. The last one was done in Sri Lanka,” Saidy was quoted as saying during the meeting.
Since this news broke, many Gambians have expressed scepticism about Governor Saidy’s intention, calling it risky amid the pervasive systemic corruption in the Nigerian government among others.
However, speaking to journalists at the Monetary Policy Committee press briefing in Banjul yesterday, Governor Saidy said there was no arrangement to print the Dalasi in Nigeria.
He confirmed that he led a delegation to Nigeria but reports about the minting of the currency by the Nigerian Central Bank were “wrong and not factual.”
The governor however did not say why he and the delegation travelled to Nigeria.
“We [Central Bank of the Gambia] did not travel to Nigeria to print or negotiate for the printing of the Gambian currency. The Gambian currency continues to be printed by De La Rue and the Royal Mint. The notes are printed by De La Rue and coins by the Royal Mint,” Governor Saidy insisted.
Asked why it takes so long for the CBG to clarify the reports despite wide public concerns, the governor replied that CBG “does not have time to respond to false information.”
“I am too busy and the Central Bank is too busy to help develop this country. We are in a desperate situation. What we are focused on is to help this country and Gambians enjoy stable prices, stable financial sector with high level of liquidity to invest and improve the lives of Gambian people and make sure that exchange rate of the Dalasi is at very good levels,” Saidy added.
He averred that in a situation the CBG intends to look for a new currency printer, it will conduct it in a transparent manner.
“If that is to happen [printing currency] we [CBG] will invite bids, evaluate them in accordance with the GPPA requirements and award the contract. So outside that, I have no comments to what people are saying,” the governor added.