Monday, October 31, 2011

Ecobank Employee Dragged to Court for Fiddling Clients’ Accounts

Victoria Mendy, a former employee of Ecobank, was on Monday dragged to the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Magistrate Alagbe, for allegedly fiddling accounts and squandering funds of customers of the bank.

When the case was called for hearing, one Lamin Sanyang, who identified himself at the court as a resident of Lamin and works at Ecobank Gambia Limited head office on Kairaba Avenue as Head of Operations and Technology.

Mr Sanyang said the fraudulent act took place from 1 August 2010 to 17 January 2011.
He told the court that sometime in December 2010, a customer of the bank by the name Francis Hary Faye, complained that there were some unauthorised withdrawals from his account. “It was at this point that Mr Faye, Torres Sarr-Tupan - our legal person, and I had a meeting,” he said.

GTBank MD leaves Gambia with mixed feelings

The outgoing managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Olalekan Sanusi, has left The Gambia with mixed feelings after spending more than five years at GTBank’s helm of affairs in the country.

[L - R] Mr Sanusi shakes hand with Mr Omotoso (new GTBank MD)
“It is with mixed feelings that I will be leaving The Gambia. Mixed feelings because it is a place I have stayed for five and half years - and it is a place I like. I have fallen in love with The Gambia already,” Mr Sanusi.
Speaking at the party organised by the bank to bid him farewell as well welcome his successor, Mr Sanusi expressed delight that under his leadership the bank was able to produce very sound results.

Mr Sanusi came to The Gambia as managing director of GTBank in February 2006 succeeding Mr Richards, who has now retired. 

Sanusi is expected to move Ghana, where he would serve as the managing director of GTBank Ghana, the 
second largest subsidiary of GTBank outside Nigeria.  He has already been succeeded by Mr Olufemi Omotoso, who was the managing director of GTBank Liberia.

Achievements by GTbank Gambia under Mr Sanusi

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The YJAG Example Should Be Emulated

The Young Journalists Association of The Gambia, in short, YJAG has undoubtedly proven to be one of the most viable media organisations in the country.

Since inception, this body of dedicated and committed young media practitioners, some of whom infact hold key positions in their various newsrooms, has implemented  series of significant programmes geared towards creating a better working  environment for its members in particular and enhancing Gambian journalism, in general.

Notable, among its many accomplishments has been the training of its members and even non-members on journalism related subjects ranging from environment to laws governing media work in The Gambia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

YJAG reminds Justice Minister of unfulfilled promise

The Young Journalists of The Gambia (YJAG) has reminded the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, of a pledge he made to them more than one year ago which he is yet to fulfill.

At the 4th anniversary celebration, which also marks the 2nd biennial congress of YJAG, held on Saturday at the Kanifing Municipal Council multi-purpose centre in Kanifing, from the outgoing president, the secretary general and to the treasurer of YJAG all re-echoed in their report that the Justice Minister still did not honour the pledged he made since February 2010 to give the association ten thousand dalasis (D10,000).

Justice Minister Gomez
“Until today, we have not received that D10, 000 pledge, despite several efforts made to remind him about it,” said Assan Sallah, the former president of YJAG, while delivering his statement on the occasion.

“Therefore I will use this opportunity to again remind the Honourable Minister of Justice of his pledge to YJAG,” Mr Sallah added.

“It is worth noting that more than one year on, the promise is still in the pipeline, so for the benefit of our members who think it has went to the pockets of the executive that is not the case,” said the former assistant secretary general of YJAG, Modou S Joof, who is now the president, while delivering the 2009 – 2011 activity of the association.

The former treasurer, Haddija Jawara, also while giving the financial report of the association for the past two years, told the congress that the pledge by the Minister of Justice is yet to be fulfilled.


Prepared and presented by Mr Modou S. Joof, YJAG Assistant Secretary General, @ the 4th Anniversary and Congress of YJAG on October 22, 2011 @ the Kanifing Municipal Council Multipurpose Complex, Jimpex Road, Kanifing

Modou S. Joof
The outgoing executive came into being on September 16, 2009 during the first Congress of the Young Journalist Association of The Gambia (YJAG).

After observing democracy, the new executive continues to work under the action plan of the former executive. One of the activities it held in November 2009 was a “Climate Change Conference” funded by the World Wildlife Fund, through the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment.

The conference was designed to increase the knowledge of young journalists on climate change and its effects on the environment and the lives of the people. We believe that journalists can only report accurately topical issues of global concern when they are better understood.
With the climate change summit to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark a month later, the conference facilitated the creation of an organisation of youth groups across the country to converge on a follow-up conference: “A national consultative workshop on youth engagement on climate change” on December 3, 2010 and outlined issues of common concern for The Gambia youth delegation to present at the summit.   

Statement by YJAG Outgoing President At Association's 4th Year Aniversary


Assan Sallah
Today marks an important milestone in the annals of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia. As we celebrate our 4th anniversary which also coincided with the association’s 2nd Congress. I am therefore deeply honoured to give my welcome remarks in this important gathering.

Today is a moment of reflection on our achievements in the past for my executive as it marks the end of term for my executive and the beginning of a new term for the incoming executive. I also want to make it very clear that I am stepping down after serving as president of the association for two years and I will not contest for any position.

However, I would also want to assure the incoming executive that you have my support and can always count on me whenever the need arises. I will still be an honorary member and guide you in our drive to move the association forward.

Mr. Chairman
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen

Each year when we celebrate our anniversary, we choose a theme and discuss on it. The theme for this year’s celebration is; “the role of journalists in elections.”

The theme of the 4th anniversary is indeed timely as we are approaching the 2011 Presidential Elections by next month. May I also use the opportunity to inform this gathering that there will be a training on the role of journalists in elections for members of the association which will be held today immediately after the opening ceremony.

Mr. Chairman
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen

You will all agree with me that elections are the cornerstone of any democracy and the media has a vital role in informing the public about what the politicians are promising and to tell the politicians what ordinary people want, or they do not want, as well as ensuring that elections are free and fair. Therefore the importance of the proposed training on election reporting is also very important.

Regional cooperation key to successful anti-terrorism fight – GIABA

Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu has called on countries of the West African region to deepen technical cooperation and expertise in the fight against terrorism in the region.

Dr Shehu
Dr. Shehu said this in New York while addressing the meeting of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) as part of activities marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).

Resolution 1373 requires all States to take a series of measures to counter terrorism. These include securing borders, tightening financial controls and cooperating with other countries to ensure terrorists are brought to justice.

According to Dr. Shehu, there are still weaknesses and gaps related to deficiencies in the national legal framework and inadequate national coordination and collaboration between competent authorities. He noted that some ECOWAS Member States do not have laws which adequately criminalize terrorist financing, and where such laws exit, there was little or no regulation or procedure in place to ensure appropriate freezing, seizure and confiscation of terrorist funds.

He further said that there was lack of regional and international cooperation as inter-country operational cooperation is still being forged at a slow pace even though political and policy direction on AML/CFT has been achieved in the region.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gambia News Online Publisher Elected YJAG Secretary General

Mr Jahateh
An association of young journalists in The Gambia had unanimously elected, Lamin Jahateh, editor and publisher of Gambia News Online, an online blog, as their secretary general.

It was the second biennial congress of the Young Journalists of The Gambia (YJAG) which also marks the 4th year anniversary of the association and held at the Kanifing Municipal Council Multi-purpose Centre along Jimpex Road in Kanifing, on Saturday.  During the congress, members of the association elected new executive members to steer the affairs of the association for the next two years. 

The theme for this year’s anniversary was ‘the role of journalists in elections’, because the presidential election of The Gambia, slated for November 24th this year, is fast approaching.

The publisher of the online blog, which is dedicated to providing up-to-date happenings with particular emphasis on business news, features and analysis, was elected unopposed for the position of secretary general as members of the association are aware of his dedication and commitment to the development of the association.

Mr Jahateh, also the deputy news editor of MarketPlace Magazine, was elected alongside seven other members to replace the Assan Sallah led executive who were at the helm of affairs of the association for the past two years.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General to visit The Gambia ahead of November elections

Mrs Masire-Mwamba
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire- Mwamba will visit The Gambia from 18 to 20 October 2011 for consultations ahead of the country’s polls next month.
While in Banjul, Mrs Masire-Mwamba, a national of Botswana, will meet senior government officials, leaders of political parties, representatives of civil society, members of the election management body, the media and other stakeholders.
“My visit to The Gambia is meant to demonstrate the commitment of the Commonwealth to support democratic processes in member countries,” Mrs Masire-Mwamba said.
“Elections lie at the heart of democracy. The conduct of credible and peaceful elections requires the full and unrestricted participation of all the key actors and the electorate. Those vying to represent the people of the country should be permitted to compete on a level playing field. Everyone needs to have the national interest at heart and behave with dignity and responsibility.”
She will be accompanied by the head of Africa Political Affairs Section, at the Commonwealth, Nigeria born, Ambassador Ayodele Oke.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has worked with the Government of The Gambia on a number of activities, including support to the judiciary, enterprise development, and tourism and media development.

Gambian products rejected from entry into EU market for poor quality

Some Gambian products such as groundnuts and fishery products, which are the country’s main export products, are rejected from entry into the European Union market for not meeting the required standards, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment has revealed.

Hon Kolley, Minister of Trade
 “The country’s competitiveness in both local and international trade is at stake, especially if no concrete actions are taken to address these issues in a more systematic manner,” the Trade Minister, Hon. Abdou Kolley, said in a statement read on his behalf by his deputy permanent secretary, Mr Ceesay, during a daylong exhibition of made-in-Gambia held at the premises of Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) on Tuesday.

The event, organized by MOTIE in collaboration with the West Africa Quality Programme and Enhanced Integrated Framework, was part of series of activities marking this year’s celebration of World Standards Day, commemorated on the 14th October.

Monday, October 17, 2011

West Africa looks to interest-free banking

As interest-free (Islamic) banking has emerged and evolved as a viable and competitive component of the overall financial system to drive growth and development, West Africa is now promoting its principles for people of the sub-region to have broad understanding of its operations so as to embrace it.

Islamic banking or interest-free banking is a banking model which is based on profit and loss sharing system.  In this dispensation, the customer and the bank share the risk of any investment on agreed terms, and divide any profits that accrue from there. 

In cognizant of the fact that there has been significant growth in Islamic financial services in recent years and experts forecast that this growth will continue at a rapid pace, the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), on Monday started a weeklong training on rudiments of interest free (Islamic) banking at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.

The training brought together participants from different countries in the sub-region including Gambia, Ghana, and Nigeria.  It was organized to provide participants with a broad understanding on rudiments of Islamic banking as well as provide clarity on ‘Shariah’ (principles of Islamic law) requirements and the avoidance of interest in modern day banking business.

Consumer Parliament: Questions rain down on NAWEC

At the forth consumer parliament recently held in Banjul, more than 90 per cent of the questions were directed to the National Water and Electricity Company Limited and most of the questions were based on the frequent un-notified electricity outage in the country.

NAWEC staff present at the forum were under fire as questions came from different corners of the hall as soon as the moderator of the event, Peter Gomez, declared the floor opened for questions to the services providers.

The consumer parliament was organized by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to bring consumers of communications, electricity, water and sewerage services face-to-face with the operators to express their views, concerns and complaints to them. The forum, held in Banjul, was the fourth of its kind.
The issue of NAWEC has been a pain in the neck of many Gambians, both corporate and ordinary people as the frequent un-notified power outage in the country has left a bad taste in the mouth of many people.

New FEWACCI president to push for barrier-free trade in W/Africa

Mr Drammeh, new FEWACCI President
The newly elected president of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry is poised to undertake an initiative that will remove the various barriers placed in the way of regional trade and development in West Africa. 

The Gambia’s Bai Matarr Drammeh, who was recently elected as president of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), has said his topmost priority is to promote the free flow of goods as well as movement of people, which is in line with the ECOWAS Commission’s vision of enhancing private sector growth in the region.

“My number one priority which I am embarking on right now is to push for the realization of a sea link project,” said Mr Drammeh, who was elected at the 2nd Annual General Meeting of FEWACCI, held in Cotonou, Benin, in September this year.

GTBank rewards high-spending customers

GTBank MD, Mr Omotoso, presenting prize to one of the lucky winners
Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) on Thursday held its first raffle draw to rewards customers with Visa Card who spent at least D50, 000 in a month.

 “This is the first draw in this promotion,” the new managing director of GTBank, Femi Omotoso, said during the draw held at the bank’s Jimpex branch.

MD Omotoso said the promotion, dubbed ‘Visa Card 2011 Summer Promotion’, runs from July through September this year, and was designed for the bank to say ‘thank you’ to its visa card customers. 
During the draw, six prizes were given in two sets.  The first three set of winners were the ones who spent at least D50,000 using their visa card from 15th July to 15th August.  The lucky winners of that draw were: Afolabi Isiaolugbola, who won a GTSave account; Awada Enterprise, won visa card with D5,000 credit; and Karim Sati Rahmoni, won a dinner for two at Coco Ocean Hotel and Spa.

The second set of winners were the once who spent a minimum of D50,000 between 16th August to 15th September.  The winners were EH Farage won GTSave; Pass Trading won visa card with D5,000 credit, and Ebenizar Owuey won the dinner for two at Coco Oceans.

Marche Jula: GCCI to stage exhibition of made-in-Gambia

The Gambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry is to stage its first edition of “Marrseh Jula” where small and medium size enterprises in the country will have the chances to exhibit their products.

The event, to be held at Buffer Zone in Tallinding from 28th to 30th October this year, will showcase locally made products hence promoting made-in- the Gambia  as well as and draw a lot of attention to local goods which may be hitherto unknown.   It will also give business exposure to the small and medium enterprises most of whom may not afford the register to a trade fair.

“This is the first edition of ‘Marrseh Jula,’” said Almamy Taal, Chief Executive Officer of the GCCI during a press conference held on Wednesday at its office along Kairaba Avenue.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unique Solutions, Netpage has a case to answer

The two internet services providers, Unique Solutions and Netpage, have a case to answer for failing to show up at a forum that provides an avenue for consumers to come face to face with service providers and collectively address problems and seek solutions in an open and frank manner.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) said they are going to fine the two companies for not attending the 4th Consumer Parliament held on 1st October this year at the Gambia Senior Secondary School in Banjul. 

However, the regulatory authority has not said how much the two companies will be fine each, but an official of the institution said they are going to do a consultation amongst themselves and come up with whatever the charges is going to be.

PURA is mandated by an act of parliament, the PURA Act 2001, to regulate the public services including communications, electricity, water and sewerage, and Internet Service Providers (ISP).
All the services regulated by PURA with the exception of these two companies attended the forum.

Gambian journalists train to take constitutional right of freedom of expression

Gambian journalists are now in a better position to take their constitutional right of freedom of expression after completing a weeklong intensive training on international standard on freedom of expression.

Over the years, the Gambian media is accused of self-censorship which is due to the various draconian laws like criminal defamation (libel and slander) in the country suppressing and oppressing the freedom and independence of the press which is guaranteed by the constitution.  The skills of the journalists are now enhanced to freely express themselves without falling foul of the repressive media laws in the country thereby minimizing the self-censorship in the media to its barest minimum level, enhance professionalism as well as to play it constitutional mandate of keeping the government accountable to the people of the Gambia.
Participants at the training

The media practitioners recently completed an intensive and hands-on training dubbed ‘Training on International Standard on Freedom of Expression for Journalists’ organized by Article 19 Senegal in partnership with the Gambia Press Union (GPU) with the financial support of the European Commission under the 9th European Development Fund for Non-State Actors Strengthening Programme in The Gambia.

The 20 journalists who attended the training that runs from 3rd to 7th October this year at the GPU Secretariat in Bakau, were trained to deepen their understanding of freedom of expression standards and their abilities enhanced to contribute to democratic and economic governance in the country. 

Zenith Bank to eliminate cash transaction

Mr Anyaegbuna, MD of Zenith Bank Gambia
Poised to augment banking in the Gambia

Zenith Bank Gambia limited is poised to eliminate cash handling to its bearest minimum using its vast array of electronic banking products and services while at the same time giving their clients access to their money on demand.

Through strategic deployment of its Information and Communication Technology (lCT) electronic banking products, Zenith Bank is to redefine customer service standards and create diverse service delivery channels.
“We invested a lot of funds in our ICT infrastructure and we have a wide range of electronic banking products riding on our ICT platform,” said Emeka Anyaegbuna, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank (Gambia) Limited, in his first media interview since his bank commenced operations in The Gambia one year seven months ago.

“In Nigeria alone we have over 600 staff working in the IT department; software, hardware, products development etc and these IT platform has been deployed to the subsidiaries including The Gambia.”
Zenith Bank leading edge in ITC makes it amply positioned to provide Gambians with international banking services through its e-banking products.

Our e-business products are numerous,” he said, enumerating some of the e-banking products of Zenith Bank which includes Zenith Xpath product, Zenith Alert, Electronic reconciliation tool, and Zenith payroll amongst others.

50,000 U.S visas up for grasp

50,000 visas of the United States of America is up for grab worldwide as the entries for the 2013 Diversity Visa lottery (DV lottery) is open starting from 4th October to  5th November this year, the US Embassy in Banjul has announced.

The annual DV lottery program is a “good” opportunity for potential immigrants to become permanent legal resident of the USA. This program runs each year and provides 50,000 "Green Cards" to applicants randomly selected in a lottery process otherwise known as Green Card Lottery.

A Green Card is a permanent residence visa and gives a person the legal right to live, work, and study permanently in the United States and to enter and leave the country freely.

“We strongly encourage you to enter early in the registration period,” said Andy Utschig, Consular Officer of the U.S Embassy in Banjul during a press conference held at the American Corner organized to provide Gambia media practitioners the information about the program for onward distribution to the public.  

Mr Utschig recommended that interested applicants should register early as excessive demand at end of the registration period may slow the system down and no entries whatsoever will be accepted after November 5, 2011.  Application to this program is open for all individuals worldwide.

Gambia calls for inclusion in ACi countries

The Gambia has called for its inclusion in the next batch of countries where the Africa Cashew initiative (ACi) will be implemented.

The ACi is a five-year (2009 – 2013) project sponsored the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and a wide range of US and European Companies.  The implementation of the project is currently going on in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Mozambique to help farmers become more competitive and overcome poverty.

 “I strongly urge the ACi financiers and partners to ensure that the ACi is replicated in another set of countries that so deserve similar interventions including The Gambia,” said Abdou Kolley, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, during the opening of the 6th annual conference of the African Cashew Alliance hosted by The Gambia from 19 – 22nd September 2011.

Is Gambia’s real estate industry protected from money laundering?

The rapid development in The Gambia’s real estate sector is increasingly becoming a cause for concern as it is one of the sectors that are most vulnerable to the activities of money launderers.

The country continues to witness tremendous development in the construction and real estate sector with strong foreign direct investment.  Almost all the major coastal and some inland towns and villages have at least one housing estate or individual properties situated randomly for sale. 

However, the increased pace of economic development in the real estate sector also presents a challenge to the country.  This is so because The Gambia is yet to fully develop a regulatory framework to shield itself against criminals using real estate to launder their ill-gotten money or proceeds from criminal activities.
The country’s real estate sector is said to be “currently undergoing a boom period”.  This is happening at a time when drug trafficking is also booming, and drug trafficking is one of the ways criminals derive the funds they use to launder.   

Various researches have proven that The Gambia is vulnerable to the activities of organised crimes, like money laundering, and drug trafficking.  

A recent report by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has revealed that the laundering of illicit money is increasingly a major problem in the country.
The real estate is one of the sectors cited by the report to be most vulnerable to money laundering.
The sector has long been the preferred choice of criminals for hiding ill-gotten gains, and manipulating property prices is one of the oldest known ways to transfer proceeds illegally between parties to a deal.  

Cashew industry promises new source of growth

The rapid development of the cashew industry in West Africa and Africa in general is a beacon of hope for the region as it demonstrates the industry’s potential to revolutionalise the agriculture sector of the continent.

Recent statistics demonstrate that the cashew crop is increasingly becoming an important cash crop in Africa hence giving the continent a renewed hope in the region’s efforts in the fight against poverty said Abdou Kolley, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, at a gathering of more than 350 stakeholders of the cashew industry.

It’s the 6th annual conference of the African Cashew Alliance hosted by The Gambia from 19 – 22nd September 2011 which among others seeks to discus and map out ways of maximizing the benefits and potentials of the cashew industry.

The potentials of cashew for Africa is enormous as world production hardly meets a continuously rising and highly priced demand in Europe, North America, China and India.

Salary accounts: Gov’t gives ultimatum to civil servants

The Gambia government has now given till end of this month, October, for civil servants from grade 2 and above the ultimatum of opening salary accounts or risk losing their salaries.

In March this year, the government through the directorate of the National Treasury, under the Ministry of Finance, urged all civil servants, from grade 2 and above, within the Greater Banjul Area to open salary accounts through which their salaries can be paid.

People in a banking hall
The latest announcement from the national treasury says civil servants “who have not provided their bank accounts [should endeavour] to do so before the 31st of October 2011 failing which their salaries will not be paid with effects from 1st November 2011”.

However, since the announcement was made, many civil servants have expressed mixed concerns about the directive.  While some say the new development will give rise to congestion of banking halls and delay in receiving salaries, as lots of employees would swarm the banks at the end of each month to collect their salaries; on the other hand, others believe the new scheme would give them access to loans to better develop themselves. 

Fabakary Kujabi, a grade 4 salary earner, expressed dissatisfaction with the directive, saying that apart from the hours they will spend at the bank waiting to receive their salaries, their take-home pay will suffer charge cuts and deductions that can be unbearable.  “Really I am not encouraged by the whole system,” he remarked.

Gambia: Rice price may skyrocket

The price of Gambia’s staple food may skyrocket from now towards the end of the year if news from Thailand, world largest rice exporter, is anything to go by. 

Thailand has announced its intention to pay its rice-growers far above market rates and this is expected to push up prices for the food that the entire Gambia depends on and it is said to feed almost half of the world’s people.

The Gambia imports most of her food requirements, particularly rice, and produces not more than 30% of its rice requirement, which makes it very vulnerable to rise in prices and reduction in supplies from the international market as the country depends heavily on importation.  The price of imported rice has quadrupled since 2002; and it continues to rise by the day.

The Gambia like many countries in Africa at large imports most of its rice from Thailand but it is reported that many rice importing countries are looking to other countries for supplies.

Efforts to get comment from the local rice importers proved futile but our source, who is an employee of one of the rice importers, said currently there is enough rice in stock in the country so there is no course for alarm and prices will be stable.  Our source explained that Thailand is not the only country they import rice from, so there are alternative countries to import from.

Central Bank uses the banks as scapegoat

Central Bank of The Gambia
The Central Bank of The Gambia has blamed the country’s failure in meeting the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) payment system on the lack of participation and the unwillingness of banking community to make financial commitments towards the implementation of the payment system.

“While Ghana and Nigeria are saying they have this and they have that, unfortunately, we in The Gambia do not have anything yet” the said the Deputy Governor of CBG, Mrs Sara Savage-Samba, while contributing to a discussion on the current state of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) during the first Swift Business Forum for the WAMZ member countries held in Accra, Ghana.  

While Nigeria and Ghana are virtually on the verge of completing conversion criteria towards meeting the zone’s agreed settlement system for member countries, The Gambia and Sierra Leone “are yet to put up any meaningful foundation”, a local newspaper in Ghana has reported. 

The WAMZ is an integration of selected West African countries with an aim to establish a common economic and monetary union for its current six member countries, the establishment of a West African Central Bank and a Financial Supervisory Authority and a common currency for the zone.

Gambia Gov’t chop-off more than D200 million from consolidated fund

The government of The Gambia has received green light from the National Assembly to take an estimated whooping sum of D219, 800, 000 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund more than 100% the amount Parliament approved last year.

The National Assembly of The Gambia endorsed the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2011, which gives the government the authority to take the additional amount from the Consolidated Fund for the period 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2011, to finance some of its projects and activities. 

Even though D5.65 billion was the estimated amount budgeted as the government expenditure, to finance all its projects and activities for the whole of 2011; the Finance Minister said during the year certain un-anticipated expenditure came up that had to be met with urgency, hence the need for supplementary fund.