23 October 2012

Gambia: Let's Stop This Economic Sabotage


The availability of enough foreign currency reserve in any country is a key determinant of the growth and progress of that country's economy. Economic statistics have proven that the stronger the foreign currency reserve of a country, the more stable the local currency becomes.

It is unbelievable that despite all the achievements registered by The Gambia in the area of economic development, some individuals and corporate entities engage in the nefarious act of hoarding and causing artificial shortage of foreign exchange particularly the United States dollar. This tantamounts to economic sabotage and is unacceptable.

Those involved in this dubious activity must cease from it immediately. Why should banks and forex bureaus and even mobile telephone operators refuse to release foreign exchange when they are the very ones that enjoy the most whenever the economy is experiencing a boom? This paper has reliably gathered that even though government has banned street foreign exchange trading (the handbag forex bureaus), some business people, instead of dealing in foreign exchange through the approved way, employ boys to buy and sell foreign currency on the streets. These illegal foreign currency dealers still loiter the popular West Filed junction where they secretly canvass for customers.

The Gambia has been registering positive economic growth; also our national currency, the dalasi has been relatively stable over the years. All these are due to the policies put in place by the government. As citizens, we should understand that economic development is a programme, a group of policies, or activities that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of a community and its citizens. Hoarding of foreign currency leads to artificial scarcity, and this in turn causes the local currency to depreciate against the major currencies. This in turn, harms the economy. We must not allow it to happen.

We therefore call on the general public to cooperate with the government to help track down those responsible for the artificial shortage of foreign exchange. We also recommend that the authorities create a hot-line so that the people can easily and conveniently report any activity connected to economic sabotage for quick action to be taken.

Our business community must also realise that successful economic development affects everyone and doesn't just happen. It takes time, strategic planning and most importantly, strong public-private partnerships. Government is doing all it can to develop this country. It is the responsibility of everyone to become an active and genuine actor in this process.

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