The chamber floor of the Liberian Senate burst into heated debate Monday, 16 September over plan by the Government of Liberia to print new currency, totaling 34 billion Liberian bank notes.The Executive headed by President George Manneh Weah is seeking approval of the 54th Legislature to print the amount to replace the two different banknotes currently in circulation here.
Senators of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change are supportive of the plan, but their colleagues in the opposition are apprehensive, given experience from the 16 billion saga characterized by excess printing of the ‘Legacy banknote’ by the previous administration without approval of the Legislature.
Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper warned that mere printing of banknotes does not in any way help an economy if requisite monetary and fiscal policies are not in place, while Senator Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County warned against printing higher denominations or higher bills such as 1,000 banknote for fear of counterfeiting, as was experienced with the 500 Legacy banknote printed by the Sirleaf administration.
Montserrado County Senator Darious Dillon, the newest in the Senate, demands explanations on the rationale behind the plan to print new Liberian banknote in the tune of whooping 34 billion, while reminding of the LRD16 billion saga in which former Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Milton Weeks, Deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf, and other executives of the bank are being prosecuted on multiple charges.
But the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance defends the plan to print new banknotes, describing it as not only timely, but also intended to boost the economy, could not say how much of the Liberian bank notes are currently in circulation.
However, the printing of new bank notes have never solve any inflationary problems around the world. Most times these monies end up into the pockets of corrupt government officials and their central bank executives. With the mystery over the 16 billion still unsolved it remains to be seen whether printing of new currency here will not exacerbate the trending economic hardship.