Liberia is in a serious economic squeeze that has left the strength of the country’s currency tumbling to as low as 156-157 Liberian dollars to US$1.00 with an inverse upshot in prices further pushing ordinary citizens to the margin of society.
But the entire country seems not to be short of ideas on who to blame for its current economic woes with one finger pointed at the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, while others think President George Manneh Weah and his government lack requisite knowledge and professional expertise to finding prescriptions for the economy.
Some believe the former government of Madam Sirleaf is responsible for the bad shape of the economy. They blame her for printing new banknotes which total amount remains a top secret ‘till today, and putting the money in circulation without withdrawing the previous banknotes that were printed by jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.
Other group of citizens put the problems at the doorstep of President George Manneh Weah, accusing him of ineptitude or clear lack of knowledge about the economy, and therefore, failing to provide remedy.
The administration’s conspicuous silence on the daily rise in prices leaves many to think that it is insensitive to the plight of the common people. None of the lieutenants are saying anything about the bad state of the economy.
Instead, some blind loyalists are directing the blame at the former government, deducing an orchestrated economic war against the Weah-led administration. Those constructing such tales say the former administration doesn’t want President Weah to succeed, so orchestrations are planned to strangulate the economy and eventually instigate citizens’ uprising against the current government.
Amid the blame game, we are getting report that the Weah administration is contemplating on printing new banknotes following suspicions that some unscrupulous individuals are flooding the financial market with excess local currency, including counterfeits , which is weakening its strength against the United States Dollar and pushing prices up.
The authorities here believe printing new money to replace the current ones in circulation would ease the economic mess or so they think.
But as had been experienced elsewhere, including Zimbabwe under former President Roberts Mugabe, newly printed banknotes are nothing but mere papers. They are as worthless as anything else unless other realistic policies such as investing in agriculture, cutting expenditure, focusing on exports, among others, are introduced.
Printing new money in itself would not change anything. In fact, on the contrary, it might further exacerbate the situation, leading to more hardship.
Unless we end the blame game as a country, and get to the real issues confronting the economy, we are just wasting precious time.
In the first place, what guarantee is there, if any, that when new money were printed today, some unscrupulous individuals would not similarly have an opportunity to bring in excess banknotes and flood the market again, as it is being suspected now?