Gambian Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh looks on during an interview at his office in Banjul, Gambia April 5, 2017. Picture taken April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Gambia’s Finance Minister urges lenders to restructure debt

Gambia’s Finance Minister, Amadou Sanneh has called on banks to organize differently the highly indebted country’s loans are it puts new policies in place to address its unserviceable debts.

“The debt presently represents 120 percent of our GDP. It is very high and that’s the reason why we are asking for it to be restructured,” said Sanneh.

He said this at the sidelines of a Paris Club Forum, which brings together public creditors from countries such as France, the United States, Germany or Japan.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has axed his executive office’s budget. At least D475 million dalasis ($11.9 million dollars) have been cut from the State House budget in an effort to balance the budget for the fiscal year.

Sanneh also proposed cuts to reduce the fleets of vehicles used by the government. It will save an estimated $8.9 million (D400 million dalasis) from government expenditure.

“Our debt is unbearable. Debt servicing takes a whole portion of State resources, leaving only a minimal budgetary margin for required funding in key infrastructures and human capital.”

Gambia’s economy is expected to grow at least three percent this year, following two months of a political deadlock that affected income from the country’s critical tourism sector.

The growth is higher than the average 2.6 percent growth across the West African region and next year, Gambia’s growth is expected to reach 4.6 percent, one of the highest it has ever been in a decade.

Gambia has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the region and President Barrow’s regime has been out charming businesses to invest in the Gambia.

The country transitioned from dictatorship to democracy, emerging from decades of political and diplomatic isolation that jammed its economy.

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