Mr. Ivohasina Razafimahefa, IMF Mission Chief for the Gambia, has disclosed that the West African nation has for the first time reached the final stage of the Fund’s programme on a positive note.
He disclosed at State House Friday where the Mission expressed confidence to proceed with a new country programme as it is the first time The Gambia has reached a final assessment programme.
He gave an outline of the findings of his mission, stating the economic growth improved even though it had not reached the pre- covid level due to external shocks such as the post covid recovery.
He pointed out the positive trends in tourism, remittance, and private and public construction works as good signs. The IMF Mission Chief noted the impact of global events on food prices and fuel, flexible exchange rates, and cross-border trade.
On the challenges, it was noted that inflation was high and public debt was still flat at 80% of GDP, but it recorded that foreign reserves and credit to the private sector were on the right path, with interest rates decreasing.
Appreciating the government’s efforts for economic growth, Mr. Razafimahefa concluded: “The Gambia can be a model of a success story.”
Gambian leader Adama Barrow said that despite the challenges in managing citizens’ expectations, his office and the government, by extension, took strategic decisions to ensure fiscal discipline to manage public finances better.
He emphasized that they would do everything possible to improve the country’s scorecard.
“At times, you take difficult decisions and do the right thing for the good of the majority,” President Barrow stressed.
He congratulated his economic team and thanked the IMF for the guidance and support, adding that the transition was difficult with high expectations from the citizens.
The president pledged that his government would remain steadfast to maximize the social and economic scorecard for The Gambia.
Acknowledging the deficit areas impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the War in Ukraine, the president looks forward to more flexibility in the following programme cycle to address the areas they have deficits.
The president indicated that his administration prioritizes digitalization and e-governance to increase revenue collection and reduce corruption.
He referenced the digitalization of tax collection and performance contracts with SOEs as necessary domestic revenue collection measures to fast-track development examples.
President Barrow cited electricity and infrastructure as the key to the country’s advancement as the government works towards its target for universal access to electricity in remote areas.