Wednesday, February 10, 2016

When it comes to economic management, we are our own worst enemy

While there will always be erratic weather patterns, locust invasions and rare and occasional epidemics like the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus all of which can and do affect the performances of the most vital sectors of our economy, we cannot and should not lay all the blame on these 'externalities' or external factors that the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Finance are in the habit of doing.
It is time to level with the Gambian people and admit fault, take full responsibility for the economic mess you have created by refusing to stand up to the dictatorship.

Yes, there were and will always be external factors, outside of the control of local managers of the economy but Gambia's economic problems have been mostly of our own doing.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been warning of imprudent spending by this regime for over a decade, if not longer.

 For example, the domestic debt, which is within your control has been out of control for over a decade with no end in sight to keep it under control.  Jammeh and his projects are primarily responsible for this out-of-control spending.  Both the Governor and the Finance Minister have refused to state their concerns publicly.  Instead what we get from these two gentlemen are excuses by blaming the weather and Ebola and anything under the sun except themselves and Jammeh.

Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley was before the joint parliamentary Public Accounts Committees to report on the state of the economy where he blamed the erratic rainfall for the precipitous decline in agricultural production on the weather and an equally precipitous decline in tourism sector on the Ebola outbreak, even when the virus, thankfully, did not cross into The Gambia.

He is promising again a recovery in 2015 from 0.9% growth to 4.7% because of improved rainfall pattern and rating the current tourist season prospects as "good".  The economic managers must rein in spending as necessary prerequisite to bringing the domestic debt situation under control.

It is a shame that because of the fiscal indiscipline of the Jammeh regime, the 2007 debt relief under HIPC and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative have been squandered.  Because we are back to where we were in 2007 as a debt distressed country.