#TheGambia -Local media reporting Chief Justice Ali Chowhan has been dismissed

Justice Chowhan was sworn in as Chief Justice of The Gambia on 6 March 2014. 

On 6 May 2015, the Supreme Court of The Gambia acquitted and released erstwhile Commander of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana on treason charges.

See links to reports by local media

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/gambias-chief-justice-dismissed

http://www.foroyaa.gm/archives/5144
http://www.foroyaa.gm/archives/5093

#TheGambia – Central bank increases policy rate by 100bps to 23% in May 2015 MPC

By Rafiq Raji, Ph.D.

Real GDP growth for 2014 revised up to 1.6%; a contraction of 1.4% was previously estimated. Latest revision comes on the back of authorities’ estimation of a lower than expected contraction of 8.4% in the agriculture sector (previously -22.7%). The hard-hit services sector (65% of GDP) – due to effects of Ebola fears on tourism sector – apparently expanded by 6.9% in 2014 (8.1% in 2013), according to authorities.

Fiscal deterioration continues – Q1 2015 domestic debt rose 38.7% y/y, indicative of continuing fiscal deterioration. In spite of this, the government yield curve (maturities no more than a year) shifted downwards, with the interbank rate falling to 12.7% in March 2015 from 15.2% a year earlier. Net borrowing in Q1 2015 amounted to c. GMD 0.5bn (8.8% of GDP, based on pro-rata 2014 data). With data such as these, authorities plan for a 1.3% of GDP fiscal deficit in 2015 (12.6% of GDP fiscal deficit in 2014) is clearly at risk.

Inflation rises above target, prompting 100bps rate hike to 23 % – Inflation remains on an upward trajectory with the rate rising to 6.7% y/y (above the CBG target of 5.0%) in March 2015, largely due to food inflation. Much more noteworthy is how core inflation (excludes energy and food prices) accelerated faster, rising 7.1% in the same month. In light of the recent downward revision of the exchange rate by fiat[1], the balance of payments (BOP) data is not of much use. Noteworthy though, gross FX reserves stood at USD 95.8mn (3.4 months of imports) as at end-March 2015, a decline from its 2014 level of USD 112mn (4 months of imports). This was as the volume of FX transactions increased 13.7% y/y to USD 1.41bn for the same period. Dalasi depreciation (e.g. USD: GMD depreciated by 21.9% in the period) probably explains the converse trend.

[1] http://macroafricaintelligence.com/2015/05/06/gambia-authorities-launch-operation-no-compromise-set-dalasi-rate-downwards-by-fiat-institute-capital-controls/

See link to MPC statement http://www.cbg.gm/research/pdf/Press%20Release/Press%20Release_Draft_May_2015.pdf

#Gambia – Authorities launch “Operation No Compromise,” set dalasi rate downwards by fiat & institute capital controls

By Rafiq Raji, Ph.D.

USD:GMD now set at 35-40 from prevailing market rate of 53-55. Foreign exchange > USD 10k not to be allowed out of The Gambia without presidential approval. Long-running dalasi pressure driven by decline in FX receipts (in recent times due to Ebola effects on tourism sector with receipts cut by >50% in 2014-15 season) and consequent balance of payment (BOP) impact estimated at 3.5% of 2015 GDP, extremely high public debt (100% of 2014 GDP, forecast to be 105.6% of 2015 GDP by IMF), with hitherto booming re-exports sector fuelling FX demand. Fiscal dominance of monetary policy continues to constrain the effectiveness of the Central Bank of The Gambia; albeit authorities expect improvements to emanate from new fiscal measures announced in the 2015 budget. In March, authorities requested for a Rapid Credit Facility from the IMF to manage its BOP problems. Delayed rains, which have caused a 15% crop loss, also add to strains on the economy, weighing the 2015 GDP outlook significantly to the downside. With FX reserves at record lows (3 months imports, 5 months in 2013), such forceful measures now in place – which proved ineffective in the past – are unlikely to moderate continuing pressures on the dalasi.