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Printing money worries CDC

The opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC has expressed concern over plan by the government to print new banknotes. The CDC claims the request by the Executive for the printing of new banknotesis intended to finance the political campaigns of Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai of the ruling Unity Party and Speaker Alex Tyler of the Liberia People Democratic Party or LPDP.

VP Boakai has publicly accepted a petition to vie for the presidency in 2017, while Speaker Tyler, who resigned from the ruling party last year, has founded the LPDP with his eyes also on the nation’s highest seat.

Speaking at Barnesville Junction outside Monrovia over the weekend, CDC Vice Chairman for Operations MulbahMorluclaimed at the eve of the 2011 Presidential and Legislative elections, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and corps of officers, including the ex-executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Dr. Mills Jones and outgoing Finance Minister Amara Konneh printed additional banknotes, which he alleged was used to finance her campaign activities.

The plenary of the House of Representatives last week Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed request from the Executive for the printing of additional Liberian banknotes, setting the ceiling at L$55 million. In keeping with article 34 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the Liberian Legislature about a month ago, requesting the lawmakers to approve the printing of more banknotes as part of government’s stabilization strategy for the economy in the wake of global meltdown, but the President says the printing of money is necessary to replaced mutilated Liberian banknotes in circulation.

A total of 30 representatives voted for the printing; two against, and two abstained. The instrument is to be forwarded to the Liberian Senate for possible concurrence. However, the chamber of the House of Representatives at the Liberian Legislature was the scene of bitter exchanges that nearly led to fistfight between security officers and Montserrado County Representative, Dr. Edward Forh, a CDC lawmaker, who opposed his colleagues’ decision, demanding the need to first establish how much mutilated banknotes are in circulation, and how much local currency is in the CBL reserve before printing new money.

Molu pointed out that while another major electoral season was pending, the government through instruction from the President is again calling for printing of more banknotes, when in fact, the public does not know how much mutilated notes that require replacement and how much good banknotes are in circulation.

He said with no answers from the government on these genuine concerns, one could only conclude that the printing of local banknotes is intended to create uncontrollable inflation in the already struggling Liberian economy.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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