Struggle beyond words describes the current status of the Liberian economy; which is reportedly “causing hardship for scores of Liberians”; due to reported “fake inflation” allegedly created by self-styled, anti-government supporters and counterfeit- makers, whose intend is to demonize the Weah’s led government.
The hike in the prices of important consumable and non-consumable commodities on the Liberian market need urgent attention because; self-proclaimed patriots and fake- money producers, who are allegedly “supporting the artificial increase in the prices of essential commodities, are using this unbearable situation against the Liberian society and its people; so as to gain undue popularity and ill -gotten wealth; which is totally troubling”.
The continuous depreciation of the Liberian dollars due to huge rush for the United States dollars in Liberia needs urgent attention from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Central Bank of Liberia and other institutions, void of politics.
Even though this government is making meaningful efforts to improve all sectors of our country in a short period; it is sensible that the Weah’s led administration should focus on revamping the struggling Liberian economy; which needs urgent attention beyond words.
I stand to be corrected, it can be recalled that “financial experts and others expressed disappointment against the past government for its controversial monetary policy”; which created room for printing of new Liberian dollars or bank notes.
The popular call which was announced by the Liberian Senate during the past government that mandated Milton Week’ leadership to vigorously remove all old Liberian dollars from the local market has allegedly not been “fully implemented, due to unknown reasons”.
However, it is unclear, if the Senate requested a report from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) regarding the mandate to remove old Liberian dollars from the local market; an issue that created debate before the recent resignation of former Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor, Milton Weeks.
It is an open secret that CBL has qualified and competent staff members, and has made tremendous effort to improve the Liberian economy from “US$80 million reserve in 2006 to an appreciable level; which is one of the reported factors that led to the construction of the new Central Bank of Liberia building, and improvement in Liberia’s gross Domestic Product (GDP), before the deadly Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2014.”
It can also be recalled that the past government repeatedly said, the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, the decline in the prices of iron ore and rubber, coupled with the withdrawal of the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) peacekeeping troops, are some of contributing factors that have reportedly declined the Liberian economy.
However, the decline in the Liberian economy which was repeatedly publicized by the past government; could be one of the factors that allegedly led to “constant budget shortfall during the administration of Amara Konneh, former Minister of Finance and development planning.”
Another issue of serious focus looks at Liberia, a country that has an economy; which is import-driven, a dangerous economic path that needs to be changed; so as to overhaul the entire country’s economy.
“The millions of Liberian dollars, controversial loans which were allegedly given to individuals and institutions by former Central Bank of Liberia, Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mill Jones who was popularly called “poverty doctor;” by recipients of his loans, should not be ignored; regarding the nonstop depreciation of the Liberian dollars against the United States dollars.
Dr. Jones argued with the Senate and others that his monetary policy to empower Liberian institutions was ‘intended to stabilize the country’s economy’.
He is reportedly on record of saying: ‘I am not giving the money to aliens or foreigners, but Liberians,’ one of the famous response or answers of the former CBL’s Executive Governor, who contested in the 2017 presidential elections.
Have the CBL submitted the report requested by the Liberian Senate, about how much Liberian dollars or banknotes are currently in circulation?Therefore, we need to empower the Liberia Electricity Corporation to improve its service delivery, with reliable and affordable electrical power; which can attract local, international investors and others, if Liberia has stable electricity.
Big thanks to the United States of America, friendly countries, and others for their financial and technical support to LEC; in providing electricity in some parts of Liberia, which is commendable.However, robust step needs to be taken in reducing power theft; which is one of the major challenges leading to the inability of LEC to expand its services in all parts of Montserrado County and Liberia at large.
Also the hosting of economic/financial submit by the Central Bank of Liberia , Ministry of Finance and Development Planning ,and others ; which could help in reducing the huge economic burden currently facing the Liberian society and its people, cannot be overemphasized.
The expected gathering can bring together former Ministers of Finance, governors, financial experts from World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), local commercial banks, Liberian business actors, foreign business practitioners, and others, in brainstorming on issues affecting the Liberian economy; way forward, which could be in the best interest of the country and its people.
I am also aware that the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s led government constituted a committee, headed by a renowned financial expert, Tyron A. Brown to study the burdens facing the Liberian economy.
Where is that report or findings, if the study was conducted by the team constituted by the past government, headed by a Harvard trained economist (ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf).
Finally, the empowerment of Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, agents of National Security Agency (NSA), and others, to enhance their intelligence operations; in getting useful information against counterfeit-makers, illegal individuals and institutions, whose aim focus on depreciation the Liberian dollars, which is badly affecting the country’s economy.Disclaimer: The views expressed here represent me, and have no connection with any individual or institution, I have association with.
By Martin Blayon