Sunday, July 21, 2024

Panoramic view of the Gambian economy in 2024

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OPINION

By Musa Bassadi Jawara

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This is my optics on the economy as the New Year commences in earnest. I’m not privy to empirical data available to officials in charge of running the economy and will rely on the general market activities. In developing economies like The Gambia, macroeconomic data, or statistics do not provide accurate depiction of the socioeconomic conditions of the ambient social environment.

The fundamentals of the Gambian economy are weak: inflation and unemployment are beyond measure and out of control. The GDP/DEBT ratio is over 100 percent which placed enormous burden on debt financing and deprived funding in vital arrears of national development priorities. Economic activities of any country even as small as ours are complicated and complex predicated on endogenous and exogenous factors. These issues are anchored in and facilitated by monetary and fiscal policies for redress.

I may sound pedantic and out of my mind to state that Economic Recovery Program (ERP) of the eighties by the Jawara administration was a dismal failure and its effect lingers 3 decades later. As a result of these terrible decisions, the Dalasi was devalued and was set floating in the international currency exchange market. This proved to be a poor policy decision in the long-term. The volatility in the currency exchange market in recent times represents the greatest threat to the economy by far.

Barrow administration is signaling fiscal policy to make up for the revenue shortfall by augmenting tax rates. This may not be the right cause of action and could exacerbate the already hard living conditions of the Gambian population.

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Essentially, what I’ll suggest without knowing internal happenings of economic decision makers is to think a new and usher in economic paradigm that seeks to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the population mired in abject poverty. Every effort by the Barrow administration must be devoted to employment creation in 2024, and not policies directed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who have nefarious agenda for Africa. The volatility in the currency market was caused by the misguided policies of the IMF in the eighties in the name of “structural reforms”. The carnage it caused to African economies lingers to this day!

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