(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia Monday issued a presidential decree restricting foreign nationals and Gambians to taking US$10,000 in foreign currency.
Over the past months, the Gambian local currency, Dalasi, has weakened and lost value against all the international currencies. On Sunday morning, the currency was trading at D51.07 to the Dollar, D80.00 to the Pound, D56.21 to the Euro and D434.39 to CFA 5000.
But in unilateral move, the president has reinstated restrictions on foreign-exchange trading and pegged the value of the dalasi. The trading rate for the Dollar is now pegged between D35 to D45 while rates for other currents will be set in the coming days.
According to a statement read on state radio, shipments of foreign currency ‘have to be done through banks and with the approval of the Central Bank of the Gambia.’ Individuals leaving the country are restricted to taking US$10,000 in foreign currency and security forces have been instructed to confiscate anything above that amount.
This is the second time the Gambia has introduced such restrictions to stop the free fall of the Dalasi. In 2013, restrictions on the shipment of foreign currencies from the country were pegged at US$9,000 after the local currency suffers its worst depreciation against other currencies.
The Gambia is currently facing an urgent balance of payments need due to a shock to agriculture and the impact of the regional Ebola outbreak on its main source of foreign exchange, tourism.
Furthermore, incoherent macroeconomic policies of the government of President Yahya Jammeh have caused major disruptions to the country’s foreign exchange market and created fiscal imbalances, increasing the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.