‘No Threat Printing New Bank Notes’- Finance Minister Designate

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Monrovia  – Amid fears that the printing of new bank notes could create inflation in Liberia, Minister of Finance and Development Planning designate, Boima Kamara, says such fears are unfounded.

Appearing at the confirmation hearing for his new post before the Senate Ways, Means and Finance committee, the Minister said the printing of new bank notes will not create inflation of the Liberian dollars; but will rather the mutilated notes.

He said the money that will be printed will be kept in vaults of the bank and won’t be pumped into the economy as it is been speculated.

His comments were in response to a question posed by Senator Gblegbo Brown of Maryland County, on whether as Finance Minister designate, it was prudent enough for the Legislature to give authority to the Central Bank of Liberia to print new bank notes without auditing the CBL.

Kamara said: “As Legislature it is prudent. I say this because over the years, the bank has not printed money. It has collected mutilated notes so printing new notes will replace those that have been destroyed and not increase the amount of Liberian dollars on the market as people think.”

The Minister designate, who claims to have had 14 years of experience dealing with both monetary and fiscal issues affecting Liberia, said he does not believe that stewarding the nation’s finances is beyond his competence.

“When confirmed as minister, I will build on the strong foundation laid by my predecessors, especially Hon. Amara Konneh, whose launch of the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan (ESRP), has been critical to sustaining the momentum generated by the ESRP with an eye to enabling the Agenda for Transformation (AFT) meet some of the critical benchmarks before end of 2017.”

The Minister of Finance designate claimed that his previous position as Deputy Governor for Economic Policy gave him the privilege to work with counterparts and colleagues of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and numerous engagements with Liberia’s development partners especially the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the ECOWAS Commission.

He promised to continue to work in the area of economic diversification with focus attention on key value chains (rubber, Palm oil, Cocoa, rice, Cassava and aquaculture); to build self-sustaining market system and an export driven industrial policy focus on value addition; and attract private investment into the tourism industry which has great untapped potential.

He promised that if confirmed, he will work hard with the legislature to secure and sustain financing for critical investments.

“On the revenue side, we will work with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to improve revenue collection through more effective tax administration, by closing loopholes and minimizing other influences affecting revenue collection.

“Key emphasis will be on a comprehensive tax payer registration to widen the tax base; more aggressive reforms and enforcement of the tax administration system; improving tax payments controls, and accelerating GoL efforts in meeting disbursement triggers for the full realization of external budget support,” he said.

He said he believes that the government needs to take prudent austerity measures to shift resources toward priority sectors such as health, education, security and the upcoming 2017 elections. He also informed senators of the need to adjust current spending to ensure sustainability, while being cognizant of the slowdown on the revenue side.

Henry Karmo  (0886522495) [email protected]

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