Gambian Central Bank Wants CBN to Fix her Currrency Bug.
The Central Bank of Gambia (CBG)has appealed to Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) in fixing the Gambia’s currency bug.
The Gambian request is coming just as it also wants to tap from CBN’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the management of monetary policy, Information Technology modernization and cyber security control.
Gambia’s Central Bank governor Mr. Buah Saidy made the request on Tuesday in Abuja when he led executives of his bank to meet CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele CBN on a visit.
According to Buah Saidy, the visit was undertaken to gain insights, learn from experience of Nigeria’s CBN on ways to administer CBG.
He gave Emefiele a run-down of Gambia’s economy and areas he wanted CBN to assist by way of synergy.
The CBG chief said he totally threw away the advice by some people to seek the help of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in finding solution to Gambia and opted to seek assistance from Nigeria’s Central Bank.
Appointed last year October as governor of Central Bank of Gambia, an institution he worked with in the past thirty years in different ranks, Saidy said Nigeria’s Central bank was a home coming for him and his team.
“We are brothers and we are coming from our house to the next house. During Covid- 19 pandemic, we tried to survive. Gambia economy was hit by Covid just like any other economies on the face of the earth. Before the Covid-19, our growth was 6 percent. Currently, it’s a contraction of 0.2 percent. For 2021, because of the roll out of vaccines, lockdown, growth for 2021 is estimated at 4.1 percent. The IMF’ forecast Gambia economy at 4.9 percent. On monetary policy, we are holding very well trying to help the fiscal policy. So, we are conducting accommodative monetary policy. The broad money is about 25 percent, reserves money is 32 percent this year relative to last year. This year growth is very high. We are trying to be ahead of the curve. The inflationary pressure is visible. On exchange rate front, it continues to be stable mainly due to high reserves level. It’s $402 million and it can do between 6 to 7 months of import cover”, he said.
He however listed areas he wanted CBN’s assistance.
“I have been at Central Bank for so long, more than three decades. I grew up through the rank. I was appointed in October last year as governor of Gambia Central Bank. When I took over, I realized we have certain weaknesses. We can learn from you and if there are any areas to exchange views and broaden our capacity in house here.
“We really need assistance in the areas of IT modernization, cyber security and how to investigate cybercrimes. Another area is legal. We need to exchange ideas on legal compliance. When I took over as governor, we face this difficulty to regulate the financial system. We want to learn how you do this foreign exchange sequence, forex management, financial sector supervision. Fintech is a new area how do you handle? How you moved from Basel 1 to Basel 11? Security is another concern which I want you to teach us”, he inquired.
On currency printing, he urged Mr. Emefiele to assist Gambia Central bank.
“Right now, we have a situation where we are very low on currency. At some point I get scared. We can’t allow Central Bank to run out of currency completely, that will be a disaster. We want to learn from you. The acute shortage that we have currently couldn’t have happened. We placed an order for two years of currencies to be printed but again the contract with the De’laru of London which has been printing our currencies has to be reviewed. This is another area I would want us to exchange ideas. If we decide to go with you, how we can collaborate with you in printing our currency”, he said.
In his response, Mr. Emefiele assured Saidy of CBN’s assistance.
“We appreciate your coming based on your realization that there is a need for us to have a cooperation between your bank and CBN particularly when we belong to the same organization under the West Africa Monetary Zone. We are delighted that you have chosen CBN an institution that to visit for collaboration between CBN and central bank of Gambia. I congratulate you on your appointment. We appreciate your coming today and to assure that, this two-day event, will be a good experience for you. Our colleagues in monetary policy, research, banking supervision, statistics, will take you through what we do here. Like you know, monetary policy plays a pivotal role in economic development in any nation, and Nigeria being the biggest economy in west Africa, infact the biggest in Africa and the largest in terms of population, we have built a lot of capacity here at CBN. I’m sure you will enjoy your two day. My colleague will make presentations on macro-economic policy, forex management, issues in banking supervision, issues on how to assist you in other financial institutions and cyber security and host of others issues”, said CBN governor.
Emefiele said CBN will not pretend to have solutions to all challenges listed by his Gambia counterpart.
“We are not going to pretend to you that we have solutions to all the problems but of course, as the country with largest population in Africa, it also has its own problems”, he said.