By Binta Jaiteh
Ivohasina F. Raxafimahefa, mission chief for the Gambia International Monitoring Fund (IMF) said the main objective of the mission 2022/2023 fiscal year budget is to decrease public debt. Saying, one of the benefits is for the government not to pay debt service but instead use it to increase health services.
He said before this program was into place the country was in a very difficult situation with the public debt situation. But he said thanks to the efforts the government took the IMF supported strongly.
He revealed this during a press conference held at the Ministry of Finance in Banjul. “We fully support the decision of the CB to increase the policy rate twice in May, we feel that it will be important to continue this policy’s stance going forward. We are working together with the government to reduce the tax collection on a few products in the country and that was done already to at least alleviate the implication of global food prices on domestic prices.
Specifically for IMF, h said they are providing two disbursements for this year, and in the end, they will help both the central bank and the Ministry of Finance to address challenges that the country is facing.
According to him, this is the fifth review of the government program that IMF supported, it is every six months, and at the end of the review, he said they will decide to inform the public about the main conclusion of their mission.
‘’Regarding the evolution of the economy we see that the economic activities are recovering following the pandemic but the recoveries are not strong as we expected this is mainly the implication of the Ukraine Russia war’’ he said
Unfortunately, he said the country is facing a lot, though they have seen some recovery in the economy sector that more tourists are arriving, the contraction sector continuing to be strong and agriculture is robust “thanks to the good rainfall overall economic activities are recovery but not as strong as expected,” he noted.
However, he dilated on the issues of inflation which is accelerating while prices of goods are increasing. These two inflations are caused by two factors that are beyond the control of the Gambian government because the factors are external, the prices of food on the global market are increasing a situation the Gambia has to face.
He said they also discussed the issue of foreign exchange with the Central Bank and the Government and it is the broadly economic activities in the last six months but in terms of the performance and the program was supported by IMF.
The performance was good in June but there were challenges in September that they are trying to address with the authorities to make sure that we reach the target end of December as agreed