-as Liberian dollars disappears on the market Rep. Kiazolu recommends
Amidst current shortage of Liberian dollars in circulation, causing commercial banks here to restrict daily withdrawal, an opposition lawmaker from the Collaborating Political Parties wants government to print additional LRD35 billion to ease daily business transactions in the country.
The Central Bank recently requested the printing of 7.5 billion Liberian Dollar bank notes, but the Legislature only approved L$4 billion, that amount is said to be insufficient and now request for additional printing is being made.
Montserrado County District#16 Representative Hassan Kiazolu says if printed, LRD27 billion of the amount should be placed in circulation immediately and the balance kept at the Central Bank of Liberia.
Speaking to reporters following a technical financial meeting with authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia on Wednesday, 11 November at the Capitol, Rep. Kiazolu, also a financial expert and former comptroller general of Liberia during the administration of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf explained the meeting was intended to brief the leadership of the House of Representatives and financial experts at the Liberian Legislature in finding short-term remedy to the financial crisis.
However, he disagrees with critics that say government is deliberately hoarding the Liberian dollar to force drastic fall of the United States dollar, instead, he some members of the community for the current shortage of local currency.
According to him, it does not make sense for the government to hoard Liberian banknotes against local usage but that some small and medium business tycoons might had engaged in the practice because most businesses disburse raw cash to partners at the end of the year.
“Since it is a known fact that at the end of every year, more foreign currency [United States dollars] hits the country, business people are creative in holding the local cash to reduce the exchange rate at the level that will suit them and give them the leverage of generating more United States dollars in the short period,” the Lawmaker suspects.
He discloses the leadership of the House headed by Speaker Bhofal Chambers constituted a think-tank committee to work with authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia in finding a short-term solution before the Christmas festive seasons when business transactions usually surge characterized by increase in remittances from abroad.
The committee comprises financial experts, economists, accountants and veterans in fiscal and monetary policies.
Rep. Kiazolu continues that the team is to deliver before end of November. One of the pending issues before the committee, according to information, is printing of additional local currency to help stabilize the current shortage and that can only be achieved when legislators, currently on annual break, are recalled to the Capitol.
This paper is gathering that due to the crisis, members of the Liberian Legislature are expected to return shortly for the sole purpose of initiating bate for the printing of additional banknotes.
Yesterday morning, during the appearance of Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweh on a pro-government radio station – Freedom FM in Monrovia, said the legislature will resume in the soonest possible time, but felt short of saying for what purpose.
Currently, the exchange rate between the United States dollars to the Liberian dollar is US$1 to LRD150. But at the same time, prices of both locally produced and imported goods remain the same.
Meanwhile, Rep. Kiazolu encourages the Government of Liberia to adhere to ruling of the ECOWAS Court, calling for reinstatement of impeached Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh. Justice Ja’neh had challenged his impeachment early last year and sought intervention before the regional court.
Kiazolu cautions the government should not renege in honoring the ruling of the regional court on grounds that ECOWAS has been a great partner to Liberia especially, during the country’s 14 years of civil war.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor