Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif has frowned on the dual currency regime in the country, blaming the Central Bank of Liberia for allegedly not executing its regulatory authority over the monetary system and the entire economy thus, creating hardship, including sky-rocketing of the foreign exchange rate.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, February 28, in her office at the Capitol Building following an official communication written to plenary of the Liberian Senate, seeking that body’s intervention on the dual currencies, Senator Doe Sherif said it is saddened that Liberia is experiencing serious economic downturn principally because agencies of government that are responsible for monitoring and regulation have reneged on their responsibilities.
She said the collection of revenue and taxes in U.S. dollars by the government, relegating the Liberian dollar is highly discriminatory in the currency market, noting that interestingly, 25 percent of all government employees’ salaries are paid in Liberian dollars, creating the situation that the local currency is less valued.
“What hammered my mind are the compulsory collection of revenue in United States Dollars and the payments of Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC light bills, CEMENCO, DStv and others in the same United States dollars currency. Paying bills in foreign currency and the collection of other bills by government and its agencies is a total refutation about people who are selling bitter buds, peppers; selling plastic bags in our local currency just have their ends meet,” Senator Doe Sherif’s communication dated February 21, 2017 reads.
She lamented that the high preference given foreign currency is responsible for the continuous growing exchange rate between the Liberian dollar and the United States dollar.
According to her, it is just unacceptable and unbelievable that goods that are locally produced are sold in foreign currency, stressing that the best option is for the government to ensure that the foreign currency remains in the bank or all monetary transactions should be done in both local and foreign currencies.
The Senator further lamented that it is frustrating that Liberians are required to pay for passports only in United States dollars, questioning. “What happens to someone from the leeward county, who does not have access to foreign money? It will be a honorable thing for our people to use the money they have and used to; especially, goods and services produced here.”
Meanwhile, plenary has forwarded the communication to the Senate’s Committee on Banking and Currency for appropriate advice within two weeks.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne