The governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) has revealed that the provisional data on government's fiscal operations for the first half of 2014 has indicated that the total revenue and grants of the government has increased to 4.12 billion dalasi. This, he said, constitutes 22 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 26.0 percent from the corresponding period in 2013.
Speaking at the CBG board room in Banjul Thursday during the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee quarterly briefing, Governor Amadou Colley said the outturn was also higher than the target of D4.10 billion (21.o percent of GDP). "Domestic revenue, comprising tax and non tax revenue amounted to D3.16 billion higher than the D2.82 billion in the first half of 2013 and the target of D3.14 billion attributed mainly to the 14.0 percent increase in tax revenue," he further disclosed.
The governor indicated that expenditure and net lending totaled to D4.9 billion (26 percent of GDP), higher than the outturn of D4.2 billion (25 percent of GDP) and the projection of D4.83 billion. "Current and capital expenditure rose to D3.3 billion and D1.5 billion compared to D3.0 billion and D1.2 billion respectively in the corresponding period of 2013," he added.
The growth outlook for the Gambian economy, he said, has moderated since the previous meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, owing to uncertainties surrounding agricultural production due to the prospects of inadequate rainfall. According to him, real GDP is projected at 5.3 percent this year, slightly lower than the 5.6 percent in 2013 and the earlier forecast of between 6.0-6.5 percent. "Agriculture value-added is forecast to increase by 12.5 percent, industry 2.9 percent and services 3.6 percent," he added.
Money and banking sector development
Dilating on the Money and banking sector development, the CBG governor stated that in the year to end June 2014, money supply grew by 8.1 percent, which is lower than the 14.8 percent a year ago and the target of 15.0 percent.
The deceleration in the growth of money supply, he explained, was mainly the result of slower pace of expansion of the net domestic assets and contraction in the net foreign assets of the banking system.
He said since the previous meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised global growth projections for 2014 from 3.7 percent to 3.0 percent. "The earlier optimism of robust US growth of around 3.0 percent in 2014 has been revised downwards following the 2.1 percent contraction in economic activity in the first quarter, partly due to temporary factors such as the slowdown in inventory investment, the expiration of some fiscal measures at the beginning of 2014 and severe winter weather," he pointed out.
He said growth in adverse economies is forecast at 1.8 percent in 2014, higher than the 1.3 percent in 2013. Economic activity in the Euro Zone, he added, continues to expand, albeit modesty. Governor Colley noted that the GDP growth for Sub-Saharan Africa is projected at 5.4 percent from 4.8 percent in 2013, premised on improved agricultural production, increased private consumption and expansion in commodity related projects.
External sector development
Dilating on the external sector development, Colley further revealed that provisional balance of payment estimates indicate an overall surplus of 10.12 million US dollar in the first quarter of 2014, which he said, is higher than the deficit of 4.70 million US dollar in the corresponding quarter in 2013. "The current account deficit widened from 16.70 million US dollar in the first quarter of 2013 to 19.41 million US dollar in the quarter under review." He said the surplus in the service account and the transfers account narrowed to 12.8 million US dollar and 13.5 million US dollar compared to 17.7 million US dollar and 16.0 million US dollar respectively in the corresponding quarter in 2013. "Furthermore, the deficit in the income account widened from 5.9 million US dollar to 8.4 million US dollar during the same period. The capital and financial account, on the other hand recorded increased surplus from 11.97 million US dollar to 29.54 million US dollar in the first quarter of 2014," he concluded.