The Dalasi Update

Monday, January 5, 2009
Good morning Gambia and welcome to Dalasi Update (DUD).

I am confident that we are all focus and determined to meet 2009 with best of intentions, penciled steps for change for the better and undiluted ambition to succeed individually and severally as a nation and a people.

Non Movers
Trading is impressive this week as more banks did join BANK PHB in this category of non movers. The TBL, BSIC and BANK PHB all maintain their last week trading figures with no changes at currency trading.

SCBG is the only bank this week at trading to make magnificent gains in all currencies by only being a non-mover on the US Dollar and Canadian Dollar as of last week trading figures.

Mixed Picture
All other banks in the Gambia notably AGIB, GTB, ICBG, ACCESS and ECOBANK are registering and posting mixed pictures with some gains, some losses and some non movers in their respective currency dealings this week while no figures are available from FIB this week.

Market Beat has the privilege to bring to you the Indicative Rates currency tables as we buy and sell in a selection of our banks in selected currencies as dictated by the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG) as at the 24th.December 2008, thus:

The Gambian banking sector under the microscope Cont’d

The banking industry continues to show signs of resilience and astute as depicted in the growth in assets, capital and reserves and the declining trend in non-performing loans.

Total industry assets increased by 12 billion Dalasi at the end-October 2008, or 25.0 % from a year ago. Non-performing loans as a ratio of gross loans improved from 13.0% at end-September 2007 to 7.0% as at end-September 2008. The industry’s average capital adequacy ratio stood at 23.0% as at end-September 2008, well above the minimum threshold of 8.0%.

The Nazi generals also carried their loots into South America and buried it in to banks for safe keeping after the fall of the Third Reich and Hitler. If Gambia today is following in the footsteps of the likes of Switzerland, UK, Brazil, Argentina then we are in no bad company.

It is better for Africans to keep monies within Africa than going to Switzerland and losing it to THE SMALL PRINTS that go with the opening and operation of these cumbersome accounts in Switzerland and other western countries. Sanna Abacha’s story is a living testimony to that fact. I will say to all Africans please bring your monies home and not abroad and remember there is no place like home.

Going by the great results and balance sheets of these commercial banks at the present moment it means they are sapping the financial vein of the hard working Gambian masses with the exorbitant interest rates they peg on their loans to the borrowing public. I must commend the banks for the loans they are giving to the banking populace and notably Trust Bank for the fast and speedy manner in which these loan applications are processed. However, we must fight the over profiteering by these banks at the public’s expense.

The banks also must be compelled to look beyond their comfort zones by issuing loans to only civil servants and employees of private organization and look further to the farming communities, micro financing, petty trading and youth financial empowerment. The central Bank must spearhead these drives as they are the bankers’ bank and the regulator of these banks.

The banks are doing very well in today’s Gambia but they must push their corporate responsibility further and reach out to youth and youth employment and want. Trust Bank is also to be commended once again by what they did at Farafenni AFPRC hospital and to me that was heaven sent intervention and I hope the others are taking note. The final call I will make on this discourse is for the creation of a bank for investment, construction and development to support youth employment creation, housing schemes for the populace and regeneration of towns and coastal areas in the Gambia.

This bank will also help strengthened the capacity of iconic businessmen and investors in the Gambia who at present are facing major cash flow constrains within Greater Banjul Area and the Rural Gambia. At this point I must mention the likes of Sambujang Jagne with his Fankanta Motel of Farafenni, Nyian of Baobolong Janjang Bureh who all need capital and government support and tax breaks to regenerate their motels and hotels for further employment creation and strengthening of the rural folk.

As a nation and a people we must reward talent and help strengthen the personalities and institutions that are making differences in our own country for an accelerated development and progress taking Vision 2020 as a source of compass. We must identify, honour and respect brains and entrepreneurship as without the likes of Obama, Isaac Newton, Pythagoras, Mandela and scores of others then life on this planet would have stagnated.

Have you ever thought the blessings that are reaching the man who invented the bulb and drove away darkness, casting away the myth that cometh with the nights and its attendant pestilences? To me this man will be among the very first people to book their ticket to heaven if rewards and blessings are anything but the yardstick to entering heaven.

Please let us recognized and support talent among our midst as that is the only way forward. The APRC position on science and technology, the University of The Gambia, back to the land call are all but cornerstone initiatives that will accelerate our development and growth as a nation and a people. Mr. President please do keep us the momentum as your pragmatism and judgment are enviable.

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Author: By Momodou Camara