By Neneh Galleh Barry
The Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Bakary Jammeh, has disclosed that the country’s debt has increased to D31.2 billion (40.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at December 2018 from D29.7 billion (42.7% of GDP) in the corresponding period a year ago.
“Stock of Treasury and Sukuk-Al Salaam bills increased by 12.5% to D17.4 billion in 2018 from D15.5 billion in 2017,” he said.
The Governor was speaking recently at the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank on their recent review of the economy.
He lamented that the financial soundness indicators revealed that the banking sector remains fundamentally sound.
He added that total assets of the industry expanded by 15.3% to D43.6 billion as at December 2018.
“The asset quality has improved significantly with the non-performing loan ratio of 3.3%, lower than 7.2% a year ago. The risk forced capital adequacy ratio stood at 32.7%, significantly above the regulated requirement of 10%.
Similarly, he said the liquidity ratio stood at 94.8% compared to the regulated requirement of 30%.
Liquid assets to total asset ratio stood at 57.4% in December 2018, higher than 52.9% in December 2017,” he explained.
On price development, he stated that state of expansion has been subdued, attributed largely to stable exchange rate. The Governor Jammeh added that the raw inflation figure reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) decelerated to 6.1% in January 2019 compared to 6.4% in 2018.
“Food inflation edged up 6.2% in January 2019 compared to 6.1% a year ago. All sub-components of food inflation decelerated with the exception of bread cereals, oil and fat, and fruits and nuts. Non-food inflation decelerated to 5.9% during the review period,” he pointed out.
The committee revealed that the macroeconomic environment has improved; inflation continues to trend downwards and it is projected to decelerate towards the bank’s medium term of 5%. Exchange rate is stably supported by market confidence and improved supply conditions; and current account deficit is narrowing supported by private remittances and travel income from tourism