Liberia: Finance Minister Samuel Tweah Raps Legislators on the Printing of New Banknotes
MONROVIA – Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah has challenged lawmakers to approve the printing of new currency as requested by the President, noting that the country cannot continue using the existing banknotes in circulation.
“We have to agree first that we have to change the whole money and then decide the quantity and look for the money to pay for that. We are not budgeting for printing money in this current year’s budget but we are also discussing how to pay back the money the government owes the CBL. We are not monetizing anymore,” he said.
Min. Tweah intimated that Crane Currency, the printing press at the center of the L$16 billion controversy, would not be an option for the printing of the new banknotes.
“Crane is out of the discussion for printing contracts because of the experience we had with the past 16 billion. It’s a mistake for people to say the people don’t have confidence in the bank. The reason why money is outside is that people don’t have an incentive.”
At the same time, the Central Bank Governor Mr. Nathaniel Patray says the CBL has not committed Liberia to any individual or company to print the proposed banknotes. He said no decision has been made on who prints the new money.
The new banknotes, if approved, would have a denomination of twenty’s, fifty’s, hundreds, five hundred, and one-thousand while the denomination of one, five and ten dollars will be in minted coins, according to the governor Patray.
“We have not committed ourselves to Government for the printing of banknotes, no decision to print has been made,” he said.
The CBL governor also told members of the banking committee that the Liberian government will spend US$31.7 million for printing, exclusive of operational cost which is likely to cost several millions of dollars.
“The final cost of printing will, however, depend on further negotiation with the printing company. Therefore, the cost information here is used only for analytical purposes. The estimated cost here does not include; the operational aspect t which is likely to cost several million US dollars,” he explained.
The CBL governor believes printing new banknotes will restore confidence in the Liberia Dollars and by extension reduce the inflationary pressure in the medium term. He said the printing of new banknotes will give the CBL the information of the full currency in circulation which is essential to monetary policy implementation.
The decision to print new banknotes will enhance security features, advert counterfeiting and maintain macroeconomic stability. As a way to infatuate the plan, the CBL has drawn up an economic technical committee that would drafts plans and policies including legislative approval, procurement timeline.
The CBL has also estimated that it will take government about six months to complete the circulation of the banknotes in the Liberian economy and the process would be conducted through existing financial institutions and complimented by few CBL cash centers to be established.