The autocratic administration of dictator Yahya Jammeh has embarked on a clandestine devaluation of foreign currencies, such as the United States dollar, the pound, the Euro and other international currencies, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The regime is in flagrant violation of an agreement it recently reached with an IMF delegation, which visited Banjul some time ago, to offer an advice to the government in regards to the necessary measures to be taken by the government to revamp the dead economy, this medium can report.
The latest foreign currency manipulations spearheaded by dictator Jammeh himself, has compelled the local forex and banking industry to toe to the pegged exchange rate determined by the Jammeh State House. The Central Bank of The Gambia’s official publicised exchange rate doesn’t conform to the exchange rate in the market. Sources said Yahya Jammeh has given instructions for forex owners and local banks not to enforce the Central Bank’s regulated official exchange rate for foreign currencies.
“Jammeh is using the Central Bank as a front to fool the IMF and the outside world. The exchange rate on the Central Bank’s official website is different from the market exchange rate. Jammeh is stealing from the forex and banking industry in this country. Gambians overseas should refused to be exploited by Jammeh. Each time, they send money to their loved ones, Jammeh stands to benefit from it. He determines the exchange rate in the local market,” said an insider at the State House.
Speaking to Freedom Radio Gambia’s Civic Education Forum Program, a Banjul caller, said the foreign currency manipulations started few weeks ago. The caller said he has noticed a significant decline on the exchange rate remittances he received from one of his family members overseas.
“The Euro now trades at D44 dalasi. The Euro has been devalued in Banjul. I am not receiving the amount of money that I used to receive some months ago. Your radio program should look into this anomaly,” he said.
Another Gambian resident in Sweden, said his family in The Gambia is refusing to trade the money he sent them to build a house for him on the basis that the Jammeh government is out to steal from them.
“It has been a month or so, since I wired some funds to my family in The Gambia to help complete my house for me, but they couldn’t exchange the funds into dalasi. Major international currencies have been devalued by The Gambia government. My family is apparently hoarding the money I sent them, until such a time that the situation is normalized,” he said.
Reacting to the development, the anchor of the Civic Education Program, Mr. M Njie, who happens to be a seasoned economist by profession said the story should be investigated by the Freedom Newspaper in the spirit of fair reporting. Mr. Njie warned that foreign currency manipulations could lead to hoarding because no one wants to trade his foreign currency at losses. Mr. Njie noted that the government should heed to the IMF recommendations adding that for the economy to grow, there shouldn’t be any form of manipulations from any quarters. He emphasized that liberalizing the private sector is a cornerstone for economic growth and vibrancy.
Central Bank of The Gambia sources have confirmed the story. An official of the bank said: “The Central Bank of The Gambia is an extension of the State House. We received orders from Jammeh. Jammeh determines what goes around here. We are aware of the foreign currency manipulations taking place in the market. There is no sufficient foreign exchange in the bank. Jammeh usually sent his agents around town to speculate on the foreign exchange rate. This is how he raises foreign exchange. He is the only one, who can commit such crimes and get away with it.”
“At the Central Bank’s level, nothing has changed on the official foreign exchange rate. Jammeh has asked us to peg the rate as earlier advised by the IMF, to avoid any form censor from them. But in reality, the figures on our website are deceptive. The numbers on our website is inconsistent with what obtains in the market. It is a scheme from Jammeh to fool the IMF. There are so many economic crimes being perpetrated in this country by Jammeh. Jammeh has used the Central Bank to cover up his economic crimes,” the bank insider added.
Officials at the IMF in Washington DC could not be reached for comment at press tie.