Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why is the Gambia Bankers Association silent

Faced with a potentially devastating crisis that threatens the credibility of Gambia's entire banking system that is an integral, and thus a critical part, of the financial infrastructure of the economy, the Gambia Bankers Association elects to stay mute than to react, as it should, to the self-made crisis.

Jammeh has, once more, crossed the line, despite his promise to the International Monetary Fund, and, I presume, to the GBA, that he will no longer meddle in the day-to-day management of Gambia's monetary policy.   As you all can remember, the promise came following a similar interference in second half of 2013 but not before the IMF warned him and the Office of The President to consequences of usurping the powers vested in the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) by law.

We need not be lecturing you on commercial banking, or monetary policy matters for that matter.   Members of the GBA know better than anyone the devastating effects Jammeh's recent unilateral decision will have, both in the short-run and long-run when he assumes the roles of the Governor of the Central Bank, the Finance Minister and your collective roles as members of the inter-bank committee who participate in the setting of the rates.  Why stay mum when your functions are being subsumed by Jammeh.

Jammeh's action has caused the market to come to an immediate stand-still thus harming the over-all economy, not to mention the necessary hardship it is causing an already financially distressed citizenry who rely on remittances from abroad to sustain themselves and members of their extended families.

In the short run, the supply of foreign exchange will shrink because the hoarding that Jammeh claimed to have been the reason for his ill-advised action which, by the way, is also illegal, has become a reality.  Jammeh's actions are nothing more than solutions in search of a problem which he has now found in disruptions in the forex market as a result of the uncertainty caused by one simple action.

The Gambian people have suffered enough under the leadership of Jammeh.  We should not be allowing him to continue to add to the hardship and misery ordinary Gambians are already enduring. The next thing we know, his security forces will start harassing innocent, hardworking and law - abiding kiosk operators and money changers for the sole purpose of driving them out of business. Yes, we have seen the movie before, and it doesn't have a pretty ending.  GBA say something, anything for the history books.