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Scratch Cards sellers appeal to Gov’t

Scratch card sellers in Monrovia are appealing to the Government of Liberia to reduce Foreign Exchange Bureaus registration fees from USD$5,000.00, and also prevail on telecommunication companies to accept Liberian Dollars during transaction.

A money exchanger and scratch card seller on Crown Hill, Broad Street, Mr. Cyrus Saito told this paper Thursday, 19 July that the government through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is requesting USD$5,000 from to register Foreign Exchange Bureaus.

New government measures are requiring money exchangers to leave the sidewalk and serve the public from bureaus, or join with others to open such bureaus in case of weak financial standing.

In an exclusive interview with this paper, Cyrus suggests that the CBL should be asking for foreign exchange bureaus registration fees in Liberian Dollars if the bank wants the local currency to be valued and regulated.

“The Government is charging a Liberian man United States Dollars to register, where they expect us to get the USD to register to the Bank. We sell scratch card in Liberian Dollars, but we buy them in USD,” Cyrus laments.

He suggests that to regulate the exchange rate here, government needs to go to the various entities that are importing goods as well as the ports through goods enter the country and tell them to accept the Liberian Dollars.

Cyrus wants taxes to be paid in Liberian Dollars to lower the demand for the USD.Cyrus who says he was present at a recent meeting with money exchangers by the Economic Management Team observes that government did not announce a specific rate for foreign exchange, except that it mandated exchange bureaus not to write exchange rates on placards.

With no mandate given so far to drop exchange rate, Cyrus observes that there is artificial drop in the exchange out there which believes would rise anytime from now.

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Another money exchanger identified as Emmanuel George at the Barnersville Junction says stopping money exchange on the sidewalk is a serious problem for them.

“Now that we are not allowed to change money but only sell scratch, it will really cause problem for us because we will not have USD,” he laments.“When we sell our scratch cards, we change the money to be able to buy new set of cards because they do not accept Liberian Dollars,” he adds.

At Bend and Stop Community in Barnersville, another money exchanger called Raymond Page says government needs to revisit its decision and allow scratch cards sellers to change money.

“This country is already hard, and we sell cards and change money to survive and stopping us from changing money will suffer us more,” he says.He concludes that they do not have USD$5,000.00 to register a bureau, lamenting that it is costly.

By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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