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State institutions update President Barrowon the economy at National Council Meeting

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State House, Banjul, 14h March 2024: On Wednesday, 13th March 2024, ten state institutions held the first National Economic Council Meeting at the State House in Banjul. The purpose of the meeting was to update President Adama Barrow on the state of the economy.

The meeting began with an overview of the Report on the National Economic Council sessions of 2023 by Alieu Loum, the Permanent Secretary Strategic Policy and Delivery at the Ministry of Public Service.

During the meeting, President Adama Barrow acknowledged the updates from the key players in the economy and provided guidance on policy issues of concern. One of the key issues discussed was the impact of forex on businesses that need to import essential goods. Forex is critical in trade and other transactions outside the country. It was also reported that the foreign exchange rate was almost at par with the alternative market rate.

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The President has assigned the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank to conduct a thorough search for possible alternatives to alleviate the burden, as the country is currently facing a double-digit inflation rate of 16.2%.

Additionally, the Central Bank has stated that member countries have failed to meet the criteria for a single currency for the West Africa Monetary Zone..

An update on the progress of Africa50’s partnership with the Government reveals that they have made significant strides in implementation. The necessary equipment has been procured and is already in the country. Additionally, they are working on finalizing the lease and ensuring electricity and internet connectivity in the area.

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The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has reported an improvement in its collections for both Customs and Excise and Domestic tax, thanks to digitalisation and cooperation from the Finance Ministry and the Executive. The GRA has emphasised that no taxes have been increased; instead, the tax base has been broadened to include all those doing business. It has surpassed its target for both January and February and has also exceeded its collections for the same period in 2020.

With digitalization, GRA is now able to track trucks to their destinations. The Single Window platform also enables all players to transact more efficiently.

The Accountant General Department provided an overview of Personnel Emoluments and Other Charges, including revenue from the Senegambia, Basse, and Fatoto bridges.

The Trade Ministry has assured that there is sufficient stock of food in the country and some shipments are expected.

Regarding the prices, it has been reported that the demand for rice, sugar, and oil has been affected by Ramadan. The American rice brand is reported to be the most expensive in the country.

GIEPA is actively seeking land for investment in the banking sector. They have already acquired over 7000 hectares of land and are currently working with seven businesses to start rice and vegetable production. Additionally, GIEPA is preparing for an Investment Forum and a Trade Fair to be held during the upcoming OIC Summit in May this year.

The Gambia Public Procurement Agency has validated and gazetted the Procurement Regulations to ensure the institutionalisation of accountable procedures. This information has been made public.

The Ministry of Agriculture has reported that the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) has purchased approximately 40,000 tonnes of groundnuts this year. To enhance food production, the Ministry plans to procure 180 tractors and 20 renovators.

Furthermore, it has been acknowledged that the Jokalanteh Platform has had a positive impact.e impact on marketing of local products.

Livestock production has experienced growth, except for cattle which has decreased by one percent. The tourism sector is also a significant contributor to the economy. Tourist arrivals have increased in both traditional and non-traditional destinations, and the Ministry is testing new destinations.

To address the need for training, the Ministry is currently working on expanding the facilities at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute. This initiative is aimed at creating job opportunities for 150,000 young people, which is one of the key targets of the Government. Additionally, there are other issues being considered as well. a Tourism Satellite Account to report the performance of the tourism industry in the economy.

The Vice President, Muhammed B.S. Jallow, along with Honourable Ministers of Finance Seedy Keita, Hamat NK Bah, and Dr. Demba Sabally, as well as Governor of the Central Bank Mr. Buau Saidy, Accountant General Agnes, Commissioner General of GRA Yankuba Darboe, and their respective teams were all present at the meeting.

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