By Ethel A Tweh
Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Executive Governor J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr., has told a Senate confirmation hearing that the banking system in the country needs to go digital.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance, and Currency during his confirmation hearing Thursday, 8 July 2021, Tarlue said the printing of money is not the solution to the problem here.
Tarlue, who was concluding a tenure as CBL Governor when he was nominated again by President George Manneh Weah, informed the Senate Committee that US$ 6m has been allocated for the digital banking project, already approved by the World Bank.
According to him, since he became governor of the Central Bank, he has put a prudent financial system in place because he observed that the system has been abused for so long.
Mr. Tarlue explained further that during his first term as CBL Governor, he put a biometric tracking system into place in order to know who goes to work or not, and also an appraisal system into place.
Tarlue further stated that they have a three-year strategic plan to lead the CBL forward, noting that the CBL Act was approved under his leadership while the first four billion Liberian Dollars were printed under his watch.
“Thanks again to the Liberian Senate for trusting us to print new bank notes,” he said.
The CBL boss suggested that the use of mobile money system helped them greatly during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, where people will not be able to stand in huge cues in baking halls as a way of observing social distancing.
Governor Tarlue explained that there are not many banks in the various counties, lamenting that four counties have a single bank and it is very difficult for the people in the rural areas to get their salaries.
According to him, the digital system will be a great help, noting that “My legacy is [to] change Liberia to a digital country.”
Governor Tarlue continued that the CBL is working with Nigeria, Ghana, and other African countries, noting that buying rice and other things from Nigeria and Ghana will be cheaper in transportation than getting it from those other faraway countries.
For his part, Deputy CBL Governor for Economy Policy Dr. Musa Dukuly said during his confirmation hearing that he has served the position since 2019 and was reappointed by President Weah.
According to him, when he took over in 2019, the exchange rate was high and there was inflation, saying in order to have some of these settled, Liberia joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and was asked to cut down staff and carry on salary harmonization.
Dr. Dukuly explained further that CBL cut down 274 staffers because the program was a lifeline for Liberia’s economy and they couldn’t miss being a part of it.
He said in 2919, he took over with no handover notes, adding that the domestic production was weak and there were about $23 million dollars outside the bank, though it is now about $20 million.
Dr. Dukuly concluded that since he took over in 2019, there has been a growth in the microeconomic system, saying Liberia has reached the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) target.–Edited by Winston W. Parley