The Liberian Senate through a majority vote has given approval for the printing of L$48 billion, despite suggestions from some political leaders for lawmakers here to pause the move and ensure that the executive fixes issues within the banking system so as to boost public confidence.in the banks.
Following the Senate’s vote Wednesday, Senate President Pro – tempore Albert T. Chie says the leadership and it’s Committee on Banking and Currency consulted all sectors including experts on the printing of the new family of banknotes.
During a news conference Wednesday, 31 March at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia, Mr. Chie explained that the Senate did sincere justice to the process leading to the printing of the new banknotes.
The plenary of the Liberian Senate voted 18 with 6 against to approve the smooth passage of Special Resolution seeking the Senate’s concurrence with the House of Representatives for the printing of the money.
The Central Bank of Liberia requested to print L$48 billion in various denominations including L$20, L$50, L$100, L$500 and L$1,000.
However, the Senate authorizes the Central Bank to print the rest of the denominations with the exception of the L$1,000.
Earlier on Tuesday this week, Senators from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) resolved not to sign the resolution to print the L$48 billion new family of bank notes until certain demands were settled.
The opposition senators’ demands led to the postponement of the passage of the resolution to print the Liberian dollars requested by the Central Bank of Liberia.
The CPP Senators demanded having a report in 24 hours before a debate is held surrounding the printing of the money, and also want to see policies on internal controls to restore confidence in the banking sector.
The request by the Central Bank of Liberia to print about $48 billion new Liberian banknotes at the cost of approximately US$45.522 million has been causing stir here.
This request to print L$48 billion comes as controversies over the L$16 billion that have prompted mass protests here and the subsequent printing of additional L$4 billion just before the 8 December 2020 mid-term election remain fresh in the minds of Liberians.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Senate insists that all of the expert witnesses that appeared before it confirmed the need for the printing of new family of Liberian dollars banknotes, noting that their input and recommendation influenced the report of the joint committee.
The Senate Committee also said that there was a lot of justification to print the money, noting that 89.36% of Liberian money stock is outside of the banking system.
According to the committee, there are two distinct family of banknotes currently in the country, coupled with a high quantity of mutilated banknotes. The committee notes that all of these factors have resulted in serious liquidity problems here.
The CBL says that they can only provide US$21 million dollars as part of the printing cost and for the printing to take effect, the Government of Liberia has to find the deficit of US$24 million dollars and US$5 million as cost for logistics.
Meanwhile the Central of Liberia on 2 February 2021 submitted a formal request to the Liberian Senate for the replacement of all Liberian dollars currently in circulation. The bank also sent proposal for a currency reform in compliance with Section 23 of the CBL Act.
By Ethel A Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley