Tuesday, September 22, 2015

EDITORIAL : Jammeh must step down for failing the Gambian people

We have just published our latest blog post on rapidly decompressing economy that is the fault of a clueless and mindbogglingly tone deaf regime of Yaya Jammeh. The blog post is based on the International Monetary Fund's recent mission report that was considered by its Board of Directors last week.
The IMF latest report on the economy, though depressing, is deja vu. Report after report of the Fund missions have warning about the impending disaster if Jammeh doesn't mend his ways. But Jammeh being Jammeh, he thinks he's been ordained by Allah and coronated by the citizens of The Gambia to ride roughshod over us.
We said last year - June 2014 to be precise - that allowing Jammeh to interfere in the forex market without severe reprimand from the IMF was a mistake to be repeated. In less than a year - March this year - Jammeh issued another Executive Order arbitrarily fixing the rate which the Fund is now saying was 20% above the true value of the dalasi. Consequently, the Fund has issued directive to the regime to rescind the presidential directive which should see Gambia return to the norm i.e. exchange rate flexibility.
What we omitted in our blog post was the citing by the Fund of the need to "articulate a strategy to overhaul public enterprises in the energy and telecommunication sectors to stem their demand on budget resources." Both NAWEC and GAMTEL have been bankrupted, among them, other public enterprises, by the Jammeh that used them as cash cows.
For example, Jammeh demanded the then MD of GAMTEL to sponsor the entire Gambia Under-17 World Cup team plus supporters, amounting to two plane loads to Chile and back, inclusive of all costs hotel accommodating, the works). GAMTEL received presidential directive at the Banjul International airport before the contingent departed for Chile. We now know why GAMTEL is owing local banks alone over D 700 million or roughly $ 12 million.