Liberians seem to be celebrating the festive seasons here with anxiety and disappointment in the wake of serious shortage of Liberian bank notes on the market with commercial banks restricting depositors how much money to withdraw.
The situation has come to public attention in the last one month especially, towards the Christmas and New Year holidays when many citizens, including business people are engaged in large purchases and sales.
But actually, there seems to be no big sales and purchases this year, as the usual movement of people and goods that are usually associated with the Christmas festivities is not being felt in Monrovia, the most busiest place in Liberia around this season.
Sounding like a prophet at a church service recently, President George Manneh Weah forewarned Liberians to stay at home and celebrate Christmas with family members by playing gospel songs and Christmas carols. That’s not how we are used to celebrating Christmas!
The President gave the caution around November as if he already knew what lies ahead, trying to lower anxiety and expectations among a 65 percent youthful population, which believes in him and gave its all to ensure his ascendency to the Presidency about a year ago.
Now they are walloping in the shadow of elections euphoria and reality of state governance amid serious economic challenges characterized by lack of genuine credit opportunity, skeptical private sector and growing corruption.
In such frustration with little or no money in pocket, particularly for ordinary citizens, we are being told to stay at home with the family and share whatever little food that is available, while entertaining themselves with gospel songs and Christmas carols.
The business community here is also suffering its share of the low economic activity for Christmas as a result of the shortage of cash on the market. Sales are stagnant with no fresh inventory coming in.
However, many Liberians are optimistic that next Christmas, 2019 would be better, that would enable them to enjoy the usual outdoor festivities associated with the annual holiday that is usually marked by sharing food and gifts, making visitations and expressing joy.
We also join in the hope that next Christmas would truly bring the good tidings and merriment that Liberians are accustomed to, and rather than prophesying doom, President Weah would tell Liberians to go out and celebrate, because he promised to make life better for all citizens.