The Assistant Secretary General of the National Foreign Exchange Bureau of Liberia (NAFIBOL) Nimely Sayeh has blamed the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the high exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars here.
During an interview with this paper over the weekend on Broad Street, Mr. Sayeh alleged that the Bank’s inability to regulate the foreign exchange market has resulted to the skyrocketing exchange rate between the two currencies here.
“Everyone is changing money without any restriction which has a serious consequence on the economy and the country. We are the middlemen between the commercial bank, Central Bank, and business people. But we are not given the opportunity to play our role well,” he said.
According to Mr. Sayeh, the supervision and regulations department at the CBL has allegedly failed to work in the interest of legal foreign exchangers, thereby leaving the market opened to everyone, especially those who are not licensed for such business.
He argued that commercial banks, cement depots, gas stations, and rice depots do not have the right to engage in the money exchange business, but he claims that they continue to do such a business thereby affecting the country.
Given the situation on the Liberian market, Mr. Sayeh is appealing to President George Manneh Weah to issue an Executive Order to help reduce or stabilize the exchange rate and to also ensure that those who are not licensed to operate as money exchangers in the country are barred from doing such business.
“We all observed that few hours to President Weah’s State of the Nation Address, the rate dropped because money exchangers didn’t have money. If the business people hold on to their money, it will be a serious problem,” Mr. Sayeh noted.
Sayeh cautions that if the CBL does not put the situation under control now, the exchange rate would reach L$150.00 to US$1.00 by July this year because of the current opened market situation.
Mr. Sayeh who says he has been in the foreign exchange business for over 15 years says the current problem continues to hamper legal exchangers’ businesses.
He says despite a series of meetings with authorities at the CBL, seeking their intervention, the Bank’s authorities have allegedly always given deaf ear to their call.
According to Mr. Sayeh, legal foreign exchange bureaus are not benefiting under CBL Governor Milton Weeks’ administration due to too many illegal foreign exchangers being in the various street corners and changing money at their own rates.
Sayeh believes that the protection of legal foreign exchangers by the Central Bank of Liberia can easily stabilize the exchange rate on the market in the shortest possible time.
He recounted that during the administration of former CBL Governor Dr. Mills Jones, the legal foreign exchange bureaus had the market because of his willingness to work with them. He continued that it helped to keep the rate stable on the market.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley