A member of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Liberia recommends the need to change the current Liberian banknotes to enable government exercise absolute control of the local currency.
Mr. Timothy Thomas appearing for confirmation hearings at the Capitol argues before senators that the high exchange rate and rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the United States dollar cannot easily be handled by this administration until government introduces measures, including printing new currency.
The exchange rate currently is 200 Liberian dollars to one United States dollar, with high possibility of increment daily.
Mr. Thomas describes the uncontrollable exchange rate as a big challenge to the George Manneh Weah administration, stressing that there must some serious mechanisms to advert the trend in that low income earners are feeling the pinch of the worthlessness as their purchasing power has diminished.
Also speaking at the confirmation hearings, Deputy Governor, Dr. Musa Dorley, recalls that during the tenure of former Executive Governor Dr. Mills Jones, the bank lost US$36 million through a micro loan scheme, which many local marketers benefited.
Dr. Dorley notes that the CBL management under ex-Executive Governor Jones was in error by giving money to marketers who took the raw cash to China and other foreign countries for market, instead of investing the loan here through agriculture.
“If the loan was spent here for example, if the loaners have invested it in the planting of cocoa, palm and coffee by now those productions would have been ready for harvest, which would have brought the United States dollars back through export channel,” he explains.
According to him, it is saddened for a country that just printed over LRD 15 billons cannot see the new money in circulation; instead, the old bank notes, while commercial banks are crying for shortage of local currency.
Dr. Dorley recommends that the fastest ways to stabilize the economy is by investing in local marketers, indicating that government should focus on the Liberia Marketing Association, Ministry of Education through reduction of school fees and the Liberia Electricity Corporation.
According to him, revenue generated from the sale of electricity can be channeled to other relevant sectors that could buttress government’s initiatives.
When asked whether the Central Bank should be audited, Dr. Dorley hesitates in responding to the question directly, instead, he says there is an internal audit department and the Bank is audited periodically, which he could not speak to on grounds that he has not started work to know whether a recent audit was conducted.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor- Editing by Jonathan Browne