-Bring back our money
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has accused members of the business community in Liberia of hoarding the Liberian currency at home and not putting it in the bank, leading to shortage of local banknotes.
Speraker Chamber is demanding business owners to put their money into banks operating in the country to halt the artificial scarcity of the Liberian dollar.
Despite his failure to provide oversight through the Banking and Currency committee of the House of Representatives in ensure the local currency is protected and kept within the borders of Liberia, Speaker Chambers instead, blamed business people and entrepreneurs for the situation that has led commercial banks to restrict daily withdrawal by cutomers.
The Speaker, from the governing Coalition for Democratic Change is the first senior official of government to publicly accuse the business community of hoarding Liberian dollars.
Speaking at ceremony making declaration of membership for the governing Coalition for Democratic Change by two former Unity Party lawmakers, Bomi County Representative Haja Fata Siryon and Sinoe County Representative Matthew Zarzar, Chambers said the hoarding of the Liberian dollars is a calculated attempt by people in the business community, who are against the ruling establishment.
He said they think by holding back the Liberian dollars is another way of fighting the administration of President George Weah.
Banks in Liberia are trying to manage the shortage of local currency as the Ministry of Commerce warned businesses here to accept both Liberian and United States dollars or risk fines.
Customers are queuing at banks to withdraw money from their accounts or to cash paychecks. The scarcity of local currency has led to several businesses rejecting the United States dollar that had previously been in demand.
“We have noticed that there are lots of businesses that started refusing the US dollar and insisting that customers purchase in Liberian dollars only,” said Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Mawine G. Diggs during an emergency meeting at the Liberian Legislature on Tuesday.
The shortage has resulted to drop in the exchange rate from L$199 to L$150 for US$1. The cash shortage is affecting all sectors of the country’s economy. Second-hand shoe salesman Jefferson Gbaytain, 39, said it had reduced his purchasing power.
Representative Siryon said she was taken to the former ruling Unity Party by Speaker Chambers, then a member, and now to the CDC by the same Chambers. She noted that she had been a member of the CDC for the fact that her children and husband are partisans of the CDC.
She added that she had come to the party to serve with dedication and determination for the forward march of the country.
Sinoe County Representative Matthew Zarzar praised the CDC-led administration for the level of development, including construction of roads, market structures and open style of governance that are enough to encourage anyone to join ruling party CDC.
According to him, the Weah administration is determined to move the country in the right direction and those who were in the driving seat should give space. Receiving the converts, Chairman MulbahMorlu of the CDC thanked both individuals for the board steps taken.
Chairman Morlu called on partisans of the CDC to show massive support for the party, as it launches its political campaign over the weekend.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne