Commerce Ministry Mandates All Business Transactions Be Done in Liberian and United States Dollars
Monrovia – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has mandated all businesses in the country to carry on their daily transactions in both Liberian and the United States Dollars beginning the first of August 2019.
Report by J. H. Webster Clayeh, [email protected]
At the moment, Liberia uses both currencies as legal tenders. However, the US Dollar is appreciated over its Liberian dollar counterpart in most business transactions in the country.
Schools, hospitals, restaurants, government taxes and so many business transactions are done with the United States Dollar. According to some economists, such appreciation for the foreign currency has created serious depreciation of the Liberia Dollar.
Addressing journalists Monday, June 1, at the Ministry, Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh said the government is concerned that despite most of its citizens’ earnings are in the local currency, most business houses continued to carry on their business activities only in the US currency.
Accoriding to him, this is creating “serious commercial challenge for the already suffering masses.”
He added: “In order to deal with this challenge, we at the Ministry of Commerce are mandating all businesses in Liberia to carry on all commercial transactions in both the United State Dollar and the Liberian Dollar.”
According to Prof. Tarpeh: “Section 19.1 of the 1999 Central Bank of Liberia Banking Law, provides that the monetary unit of Liberia shall be the Liberian dollar and the Liberian Dollar shall be the currency of Liberia and tenant.”
Section 19.1: “The monetary unit of Liberia shall be the Liberian Dollar, divided into one hundred cents. The Liberian Dollars shall be the currency of Liberia and legal tender. Prices of all transactions in Liberia shall be indicated in Liberian Dollars and cents. The Liberian Dollars shall be prefixed by the sign ‘L$’, and the Liberian Cents shall be prefixed by the ‘ȼ’. The Liberian Dollar shall be the currency for all accounting, financial reporting, and official purposes in Liberia.”
“This government intends to enforce that,” Prof. Tarpeh added.
He warned that there shall be an imposition of fine on individuals and business institutions on the violation of this regulation; adding: “The fine will be established and made known to the public.”
“We are taking this step as a government. This is the normal practice around the world. You cannot operate in any country and reject its currency; the law requires that and we intend to enforce it,” he assured.
According to him, enforcing the regulation is not an infringement on the United States Dollar, adding: “The United States Dollar is the medium of exchange.”
“It (USD) is a legal tender but we are saying that the Liberian Dollar also should be considered a currency of traction,” Prof. Tarpeh said.
“We give the businesses or whoever is doing business in this country up till the end of July to make their prices explicit on whatever they sell both in the Liberian Dollar and the United States Dollar. Our people must have a choice,” he said.
The Commerce boss added: “We want to promote the wide use of the Liberian Dollar as the medium of exchange and this is in addition to a number of monetary policy measures that are being promulgated by the Central Bank of Liberia.”
The new measure, according to the Minister, had been harmonized and discussed with the appropriate authority like the Ministry of Finance, CBL and other monetary institutions.
Despite the unstable United States Dollar rate on the Liberian market, Prof. Tarpeh said businesses will be allowed to use the Central Bank of Liberia’s rate in receiving the local currency from customers.