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CBL seeks extension of old cash retrieval

A national program to retrieve legacy banknotes from the market was launched before the just-ended legislative and presidential elections. However, the exercise faced some delays due to the election and bad road conditions.

Monrovia, April 1, 2024: This paper has reliably learned that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) authorities are about to seek President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s approval to extend an ongoing cash retrieval exercise across the country.

The CBL commenced a nationwide campaign on 22 October 2022 to replace the legacy banknotes and coins with the new family of banknotes and coins.

CBL authorities are said to have resolved to extend the exchange exercise deadline and the termination of the legal tender status of the legacy banknotes by 45 days from 1 April 2024 to 15 May 2024.

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In keeping with the 54th Legislature’s mandate, the initiative was launched to be carried out through commercial banks and other regulated financial institutions to retrieve the legacy banknotes.

In July 2023, the authorities set 31 March 2024 as the cut-off date for the termination of the legal tender status of the old banknotes.

However, this paper has learned that the timeline was affected by Liberia’s poor road conditions, mainly in accessing rural places and the presidential and legislative elections, among several other challenges.

Following a November 2023 presidential run-off, there followed a presidential transition that ushered in the Boakai-led administration. These national activities also appeared to have impacted the timeline set for cash retrieval nationwide.

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Despite the challenges this paper has learned, the CBL has significantly retrieved many of its targeted old banknotes. The CBL has retrieved from circulation and replaced L$21.41 billion of the old banknotes, constituting 85% of the estimated L$25.258 billion worth of banknotes. However, there is still a large volume of old banknotes in circulation.

In recent weeks, some members of the public have been raising concerns about being unable to meet the CBL deadline of 31 March due to their location in remote places and the absence of commercial banks.

The NewDawn newspaper has learned that the CBL has considered these public concerns and wants President Boakai to approve an exercise extension.

To reach out to the rural parts of the country, the CBL was said to have dispatched teams to ten of Liberia’s 15 counties on 18 March 2024 to ramp up the exchange exercise to meet the 31 March deadline.

However, even at the end of the month, this paper learned that the bank was still implementing the Exercise.

Through a joint resolution in 2021, the 54th Legislature authorized the CBL to print and mint a new family of currency worth LS48,734,000,000.00, based on the Bank’s request.

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