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Liberia: Senate Drags Endorsement for Printing of New Banknotes as Finance Minister Fails to Appear before Plenary

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MONROVIA – The Liberian Senate has for the third day in succession failed to hold a final discussion on whether or not to endorse request from the Executive Branch of Government to print new banknotes due to Finance Minister Samuel Tweah’s failure to appear before the Senate.

Last week, the Senate tabled discussions on the printing of the banknotes with Plenary agreeing to invite fiscal authorities (Central Bank of Liberia and Ministry of Finance) to address some concerns of Senators.

In disappointment, Senator Marshall Dennis of Grand Gedeh County chairman of the Senate Banking and Currency promised to make a case to plenary about what he termed as the Finance minister’s deliberate action to stay away meetings to discuss national issues.

Quizzed on whether the new currency has already been printed secretly, Deputy Central Bank of Liberia Governor for Economic Policy, Dr. Musa Dukuly said such news is speculative and he would not respond to speculations. “We are going through the process as required by law and when the process is completed you will be informed,” he said.

For his part Senator, Darius Dillon of Montserrado County could not confirm or deny the information, but according to him, “nothing is impossible” in Liberia. Dillon in a telephone interview promised not to vote for the printing of new banknotes if concerns in the public about alleged missing money are not addressed.

Dillon: “Before I give approval to the printing of any money to be printed, there should be accountable for the 16 billion Liberian dollars and US$ 25 million. I will also have to see sample of the money and those in authorities’ guarantee the security features before I can give my approval.

 “Any attempt to print money before coming to the legislature will be held in contempt. In Liberia, nothing is impossible, the rumors that the money is already printed could be true.”

The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency on Tuesday recommended that the Plenary of the Senate endorse the request from the Executive 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 features is printed.

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, would 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.

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