7 February 2014

Gambia: Importers Speak On Challenges As Dalasi's Depreciation Continues

As the value of Gambian Dalasi continues to spiral downwards on a consistent basis, the business persons especially the importers who deal with foreign currency in their everyday transactions speak to Foroyaa on their challenges. When visited, Mr. Hydara Faal along Kairaba Avenue told this reporter that the trend of the current situation of this business is continuing without impression. He said they have been undergoing a series of difficulties in business in recent years and this entire situation is due mainly to the weakness of the Dalasi. Asked how he manages to do his imports in the face of a very weak local currency, Mr. Faal said he imports household furniture such as seats, beds, cupboards, drawers, refrigerators, television sets, etc; adding that all these things are imported from European countries with hard currency such as euro or dollar to get them.

"I oppose people's claim that our materials are expensive on sale. Many said our materials are costly but they don't really also know how we afford them," citing that this is something that is not manufactured in the country but instead arrived through several stages.

This means that before it reaches us here it will be extra high as we are also looking for profit, he explained. "I think what should be done is to work with the authorities to stabilize the value of our dalasi and this involves all of us irrespective of businessmen, carpenters or civil servants to ensure our currency is back to normal," emphasised Mr. Faal.

Mrs. Oulaymatou Bah who imports pure palm oil from Guinea Bissau also shares her experience. She said the palm oil she used to sell is imported from Bissau every two weeks with the help of a big lorry that transport it to the Gambia. She emphasised that there is big gap between past and present especially for the past two years which she described as bad business climate.

Mrs. Bah said the status of the Dalasi has heavily depreciated starting few years ago which she said is solely responsible for this crisis. She called on the authorities to work as quickly as possible to restore the value of dalasi.

"Previously, the Dalasi was no match to CFA but now without argument the CFA currency has risen over dalasi due to its depreciation. I know this because I use both currencies frequently due to the nature of my business," she asserted.

An anonymous businessperson opined that until and unless knowledgeable people grounded in economics are allowed the chance to fix the problem he is not optimistic that the goal of stabilizing the currency can soon be realized.

He added that the economy of a country is the most important thing and it is first priority of any nation; adding that it is the reason why politicians use it in their campaign to win people's minds. "Before thinking about business, education, agriculture or any other thing, it is the economy first, because without good economy there will be bankruptcy or currency depreciation which we are facing," he said.

Asked what his area of business is, he said he deals with the importation of spare parts for all kinds of vehicles.

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