Tuesday, March 28

Gambian economy, growth rebounded to 4.5 percent in 2021- President Barrow

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President Adama Barrow has stated that despite the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Gambian economy, growth rebounded to 4.5 percent in 2021.

“Although the growth remained below the pre-pandemic levels, it was still significant, however, the slowdown of business activities in 2020 and the third wave of the virus in July 2021 affected the economy’s recovery,” the Gambian leader told Gambians in his 2022 legislative year state of the nation address at the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday.

He added: “In 2022, the economy could have been well into recovery, with expectations of improved economic performance, increased grant inflows, and private remittances. Unfortunately, it took a different trend, as economies across the globe grapple with the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Consequently, in June, the Government projected a more modest growth of 3.6 percent for 2022.”

President Barrow disclosed that revenue collection for the first two months of 2022 declined by 14 percent, against the same period in 2021.

“Prompted by this development, the Government resolved to formulate robust policies that would set up buffers against shocks and enhance domestic revenue mobilisation,” he noted.

He stated that “Notwithstanding the challenges, the fourth review of the Extended Credit Facility with the IMF was completed in December 2021.”

“We remain committed to sound economic policy management, as detailed in the Medium Term Economic Fiscal Framework (2022-2026). The framework is to improve macro-fiscal stability.

With the support of the United Nations Development Programme, the initial stages of the formulation of a Recovery-Focused National Development Plan (RF-NDP: 2023-2027) and a Long-Term Development Vision (LTDV: 2050) have started,” President Barrow said on Thursday.

He also said the RF-NDP will succeed in the National Development Plan (2018-2021), and the LTDV will succeed in Vision 2020 for the country’s long-term development targets and transformation.

According to him, The Gambia was among 44 countries that presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals during the High-Level Political Forum held in New York in July 2022.

He noted that the reviews facilitate the sharing of experiences. Partners commended The Gambia for the inclusive and participatory nature of its VNR and the policies and strategies being implemented to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

“The Gambia’s total debt service payment in 2021 was GMD5.01 billion. Of this, GMD 1.9 billion was External Debt Service payment and GMD 3.1 billion was Domestic Debt Service payment.

The debt service payment increased by 11.1 percent from GMD 4.5 billion in 2020 to GMD 5 billion in 2021. There was no Debt Service Suspension Initiative receipt, compared to the preceding year,” the Gambian leader disclosed.

According to him, the update on the Public Finance Management (PFM), the PFM Act is under revision to address the weaknesses, saying that “once finalised, the Public Finance Regulations and Instructions will be revised.”

President Barrow said Public Financial Management reforms include a Treasury Single Account to ensure better treasury management functions, adding also initiated is a Public Financial Management Strategy (2021-2025) to address weaknesses in the financial management of Local Government Authorities and ensure effective use of the IFMIS.

“Cabinet has approved the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Bill for tabling by this august Assembly. It speaks to the Revised National PPP Policy and operational guidelines,” he said.