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Editorial: Skyrocketing exchange rate is unbearable

Liberians are experiencing a sudden rise in the exchange rate between the United States Dollar and the Liberian Dollar with US$1.00 costing as much as 168 to 170 Liberian Dollars in just a month from LRD150.

The sudden rise in the exchange rate is creating corresponding increases in prices of basic commodities especially food, petroleum and transportation, imposing serious constraints on ordinary citizens.

Presidential hopeful Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, recently alarmed here about the rapid rise in the exchange rate, which he attributes to uncontrollable infusion of Liberian Dollars into the market by the ruling CDC-led government to attract voters for the re-election of President George Manneh Weah.

“They are dumping the Liberian Dollars on the market and keeping the United States Dollars. They are saving the United States Dollars because they are not too sure of winning [the] elections”, Cllr. Gongloe explained.

Members of the ruling establishment currently in government and out of government that vying for public officials are dishing out huge amounts of Liberian Dollars to citizens across the country to solidify their chances for election and re-election with serious adverse consequences on the heavily import-reliant economy.

An economist and law professor, Cllr. Gongloe warned that ordinary Liberians are going to be pushed to extreme poverty and hardship as a result of what is happening in the economy with huge amounts of Liberian Dollars chasing few United States Dollars.

“Economically, what is happening now is terrible for Liberia. However, between now and the elections, lives [are] going to be much more difficult than Liberians had ever realized”, he said.

Even prior to the official start of campaign the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is carrying series of political projects in several counties, including Lofa and Nimba to soften the ground and rally citizens’ support.

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As experienced in both the 2017 presidential election and the 2020 Special Senatorial Election when ruling party candidates dished out millions of Liberian Dollars to communities and voters, and flooded the market, a similar replay is expected, as Liberians go to the polls on October 10.

We can but only join Cllr. Gongloe in warning fellow Liberians to tighten their belt and brace themselves for the negative economic consequences during and after the elections that they would have to face as a direct result of election spending though the election law of Liberia has a ceiling on campaign finance.

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