CBL Governor Designate Promises to Operate Within CBL Act
Monrovia – Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor-Designate, Milton Weeks, says his main concern when he is confirmed to the top post will be to stimulate the domestic economy while at the same time ensuring an amendment of certain provisions in the CBL Act.
Appearing at a Senate confirmation hearing for the top job, Mr. Weeks said he will work with the Legislature to amend the CBL act.
According to him, amendments were introduced to the CBL Act in 2014 but only a few issues were addressed, ignoring a number of recommendations from the CBL and the country’s development partners which, he believes, are very relevant.
“I share the opinion that the CBL Act be further strengthened in the governance structure,” he said. “I pledge to work with the Honorable Legislature in addressing these shortfalls in the revised Act. I must also take this opportunity to draw the attention of this honorable body to the continued difficult times ahead given the global economic crisis I alluded to earlier.”
He said, given the decline in the export earnings with no corresponding decline in consumption, there exists the very real possibility of further exchange rate volatility in the short run.
He promised that the bank will remain confident given the strong level of cooperation with the fiscal authorities and its multilateral partners, furthering that the CBL will be able to maintain a good level of price and exchange rate stability in the medium term but must be prepared for greater volatility in the short term.
He cautioned lawmakers on the need to explore taking some bold initiatives intended to stimulate the domestic economy, while keeping inflation in single digits and at the same time assuring that if confirmed, the CBL under his stewardship will operate in strict adherence of the CBL Act.
“While there has been criticism of the manner in which the CBL stimulus programs that will assist in the process, going forward we will ensure that we limit our intervention to within our mandate.
“There is also a need to further reform the insurance industry. For an economy of our size, my personal opinion is that we have too many insurance companies. There is a need for consolidation within the sector that will result in strong, reliable and sustainable insurance companies that are properly capitalized and will contribute to the creation of wealth and development of the Liberian economy.”
He furthered stressed the need to attract further investment in the banking sector and the economy in general and the need for more emphasis on long term credit to support mortgage financing.
“Our regulatory framework must be robust but not inhibitive. We must safeguard the sanctity of financial services sector but we must avoid cutting off our nose to spite our face. In other words, as opposed to a confrontational approach, a collaborative regulatory framework is what we should aim for where the regulated and the regulator work together to achieve the success of the sector.”
He pledged a strong commitment to private sector development as proven by his various assignments during his career. He said his experience as an elected member of the Executive Council of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce where he conducted research works amongst others on private sector development has ably prepared him for the task.
He further assured lawmakers of his commitment to the continual development of the private sector with particular emphasis on the micro, small and medium enterprises and promised to do it within the framework of existing laws and regulations applicable to the CBL and the government. By achieving this, Weeks promised to maintain a good relationship with the banking sector.
“The lack of access to credit remains a key challenge to enterprise development in Liberia. Recent data on access to financial services to the local communities reveal inadequate access to basic financial services, including saving, credits, remittances, insurance and payments, despite the increased activities of commercial banks in various parts of the country,” he said.
Henry Karmo (0886522495) [email protected]