In the wake of shortage of local banknotes in the country, President George Manneh Weah asks members of the 54th Liberian Legislature to quickly approve printing of new family of Liberian banknotes for the economy before another peak in high demands for local currency.
The high demands for Liberian banknotes is usually around Christmas and New Year holidays when transactions are usually at high levels with commercial banks being unable to meet demands thus, restricting daily withdrawals.
Liberia continues to experience acute cash shortage since the Weah administration came to power with major depositors preferring to keep their money outside the bank.
Delivering his 4th Annual Message to the 54th Legislature in joint chambers Monday, 25 January at the Capitol in Monrovia President Weah pleaded, “I appeal to you to act quickly in resolving this issue before the next period of high demand for local currency.”
He recalls that the printing of additional 4 billion of the current Liberian banknotes last year by the government was primarily aimed at easing the liquidity challenge in the economy brought about by increasing demand from various financial institutions, including ATM services at banks and forex bureaus.
However, most of the newly printed banknotes all in LRD500 denomination did not reach the market, leaving ordinary citizens and some officials asking with no direct answer up to now.
Turing to the economy, President Weah reports that total revenue generated during the period was over US$6 million and that expenditure for the same period hit US$606 million.
He acknowledges low public confidence in the Central Bank of Liberia and the entire banking system which led to restructuring the CBL Board of Governors but discloses that real Gross Domestic Product (Real GDP) earlier projected at -2.5 percent rose to -3 percent.
However, President Weah thinks agriculture will bring turnaround in revising the economy, saying it is time to review and recalibrate. He says to achieve food security, Liberians must return to the soil.
“We have the land, we have the labor and we have the climate to produce, so let us go back to the soil”, he rallies and vows: This is a task that is already on the way. The activities in the agricultural sector will receive my personal support.
By Jonathan Browne