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Senate concurs to print LRD48 Billion

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The Liberian Senate has concurred with the House of Representatives for the printing of new family of Liberian bank notes, totaling over L$48 Billion in three years (2021-2023). The denomination of the new bank notes are to be in L$20, L$50, L$100 and L$500. Also to be printed are L$10 and L$5 in coins.

The Senate committee on banking and currency as lead, followed by the committees on Public Account, Ways, Means and Finance and the Judiciary Human Rights Claims and Petition met with committees from the House of Representatives and had a joint hearing with officials of the Central Bank of Liberia and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to justify request for complete replacement of the existing Liberian bank notes.

The joint committee for the second time met with authorities of the CBL, the MFDP and expert witnesses including, the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment or LBDI, Mr. James Davies, who heads the Liberian Bankers Association; the Chairman of the Liberian Business Association and the Dean of the Economic Department of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Liberia.
In the hearings, the panel discussed the proposal in its entirety, including justification for printing, volume of money, economic implications, cost, sources of funding, internal control measures and other procedures.

The committee reports that all of the expert witnesses that appeared confirmed the need to print new family of Liberian bank notes, noting that their input and recommendation influenced its works. The committee added that there was sufficent justifications to print new money, noting that 89.36 percent of Liberian money stock is outside of the banking system and also that there are two distinct families of bank notes currently in circulation including a high quantity of mutilated bank notes – factors that have resulted to serious liquidity problem in the country.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Liberia says it can only provide US$21 million towards printing cost, and that for the printing to take effect, the Government of Liberia should source a deficit of US$24 million plus US$5 million for logistics.

On February 2, 2021, trhe CBL submitted a formal request to the Liberian Senate, seeking replacement of all Liberian dollars currently in circulation. The Bankers’ Bank also proposed a currency reform in compliance with Section 23 of the Act creating the Central Bank if Liberia.

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill seeking for replacement of the current banknotes to a brand new family of banknote.

On Tuesday, February 18, the House of Representatives voted following a report from its Committee on Banking and Currency, and a resolution. Over 60 Representatives signed the resolution in agreement to authorize the printing of the new family banknotes.

According to the resolution, the printing of L$48.733 billion new banknotes, as requested by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), will replace the current family of banknotes including the L$8 billion-plus mutilated Liberian dollars in the market.

By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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