Liberia: Senate Banking C’ttee Recommends New L$1,000 Denomination

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Monrovia – The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency has recommended that the Plenary of the Senate endorses the request from the Executive Branch of Government to allow them to print new Liberian Dollar banknotes with an introduction of new L$1,000 denomination.

Making the case, Senator Marshall Dennis, Chairman of the Senate’s Banking and Currency Committee, said because the current Central Bank of Liberia’s Board is unable to state exactly the amount of Liberian Dollars in circulation, they have advised that a new banknote with different security feature is printed.

 “The solution to solve the inflation problem with our currency against the US dollars according to the Central Bank of Liberia is for us to completely replace the existing banknotes to uniform banknotes that they will have authority over and know how much is in circulation.

“So we feel it is necessary to do so because that is the only way to fight inflation and we are linking the inflation to the volatility of our banknote. The best thing we can do is to replace them. We should be specific with the security feature of the L$1,000 banknotes to avoid counterfeiting.”

Sen. Dennis further assured his colleagues that the CBL and the Executive Branch of Government have assured them that those necessary measures to avoid a replicate of what happened in the past and that of the L$35 billion will not be placed in circulation immediately. 

On a contrary view, Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County, a member of the Banking and Currency Committee took exception with his colleagues in the Committee for not addressing issues he raised during their meetings.

Sen. Cooper also thinks that the amount requested for printing is more than the country’s economic needs.

He also expressed fear that with doubts over the handling of the L$16 billion and the US$25 million, the public will have reservations about the decision to print new banknotes. He also raised concerns about the Minister of Finance and Development Planning’s decision to boycott meetings held with the Senate and the CBL. 

“How can we approve the printing of money without hearing from the Minister of Finance? I am very surprised to see this report on the floor. I cautioned my colleagues to please take this debate with caution,” he stated.

Like Senator Cooper, other senators expressed their doubts in the handling of the alleged missing L$16 billion and the manner in which the US$25 million intended for mopping up excess Liberian dollars in the economy was infused in the economy, was handled.

Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon said, “I hold a view that we need to have a final closure in terms of accountability and transparency on the L$16 billion, including what happened to it.

President George Weah last week wrote the Legislature requesting the lawmakers to approve the printing of new Liberian banknotes in the tone of L$35 billion. The money, according to the President, will be infused into the economy when printed.

Should the Legislature approve the President’s request, the government of Liberia will need US$34 million to underwrite the cost of printing the L$35 billion.

The President’s communication was sent to the Senate’s Committee on Banking and Currency.

Article 34 ‘D’ of the Liberian Constitution gives power to the Legislature to levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise, and other revenues, to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and to make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic.

There are clear indications that the government currently does not have an exact figure on the amount of money in circulation on the Liberian Economy.

A highly-placed source in the government told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that the government does not know the quantity of money in the hands of most individuals and business institutions, including GSM mobile money operators, forex bureau, as well as business people.

President Weah Extends Session of Legislature

Monrovia – President George Manneh Weah has issued a Proclamation for the 54th National Legislature to extend its Second Regular Session for a period of two weeks beginning September 15, thru the 30th, 2019.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Proclamation is in concurrence with Article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution, which provides that the President shall, on the President’s own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by Proclamation extend a Regular Session of the Legislature beyond the date of adjournment or call a Special or Extraordinary Session of that August body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.

In accordance with Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of this Republic, a Certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each has been laid before the President on September 12, 2019 for the extension of the Second Regular Session of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia for the period of two (2) weeks beginning Sunday, 16th of September, A. D. 2019 and ends on the 30th of September, A. D. 2019, to allow the National Legislature the opportunity to discuss and act upon pressing matters of national concern.

Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia further requires that when the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, a Proclamation shall be issued not later than forty-eight hours after receipt of the Certificate by the President of the Republic of Liberia.

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