Saturday, April 1

Governor Saidy Says Economy to Grow by 6.0 Percent in 2023

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

By Musa Sheriff

Gambia expects to see an economic growth of 6.0 percent in 2023, higher than the 5.2 percent projected for 2022, Mr. Bauh Saidy, Governor of the central bank, said on Tuesday in Banjul.

He told a press briefing of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Banjul that the risk to the outlook remains “significant”, including the uncertain geopolitical environment, volatile international commodity prices, and the impact of monetary tightening in advanced economies on domestic demand.

According to him, the latest Private Sector Business Sentiment Survey points to improved sentiments as most respondents are upbeat about the near-term growth prospects of the economy.

Respondents also expect higher business activities in the first quarter of 2023, predicated on higher capital expenditure, consumer demand, and sales, Saidy said.

However, inflation expectations remain elevated and are expected to persist in the near term.

Saidy said provisional estimates of the balance of payments indicate a wider current account deficit of US$116.7 million (5.7 percent of GDP) in 2022, compared to US$86.9 million (4.5 percent of GDP) in 2021.

The deficit in the goods accounts worsened to US$591.6 million in 2022, from US$574.5 million a year earlier. The total import bill rose by 6.2 percent (year-on-year) to US$645.3 million in 2022, reflecting mainly higher costs of petroleum and food imports.

Saidy said total exports of goods increased by 63.2 percent (year-on-year) to US$53.7 million in 2022. In contrast, the services account balance improved to a surplus of US$25.6 million from a deficit of US$9.1 million during the period under review.

The Governor said the Central Bank continues to maintain adequate levels of external reserve buffer, revealing that in end-December 2022, the stock of external reserves stood at US$470.6 million, adequate to cover 4.8 months of prospective imports of goods and services.

Food inflation decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 17.5 percent in January 2023, from 18.3 percent in December 2022, attributed to the slowdown in the price indices of bread and cereals, sugars, and dairy products.

The Governor said non-food inflation declined to 8.6 percent in January 2023, relative to 9.4 percent in December 2022, supported by the decline of all sub-components during the period except for housing, water, and electricity, gas, and other fuels.

He disclosed that the stock of government domestic debt increased in 2022 but at a decreasing rate.

“The nominal debt stock stood at 38.1 billion Dalasi, representing an annual increase of 2.5 percent, lower than average growth of 5.8 percent for the past 5 years.”

Moreover, the domestic debt-to-GDP ratio declined from 34.7 percent in 2021 to 31.7 percent in 2022.