Liberia: Speaker Chambers Barking Off The Wrong Tree On Shortage Of Local Currency

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IT IS SAD THAT a sitting Speaker of the Lower House would make baseless utterances without a shred of evidence that has the propensity to cause serious problems for the government he is a part of.

HOUSE SPEAKER BHOFAL CHAMBERS, last week threw pointed jabs at the business community, accusing them of hoarding the Liberian currency at home and not putting the LDs in the bank, leading to shortage of local banknotes.

THE SAD REALITY is that the issue of the currency has been on the laps of members of the lower house of the national for months now.

LAWMAKERS, UNDER THE watch of Speaker Chambers have repeatedly given the greenlight to the Central Bank of Liberia to print local currency while standing by and doing nothing as consumers and ordinary Liberians complain that there is simply not enough local currency on the market.

OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS, commercial banks have been doing their best to manage the shortage of local dollars with no end appearing to be in sight for the shortage. The shortage has resulted in a drop in the exchange rate from L$199 to L$150 for US$1. 

IN THE WAKE OF all this, Speaker Chambers is failing to take responsibility by leading his peers to hold the Central Bank of Liberia’s feet to the fire. Instead, the Speaker has resorted to demanding business owners to put their money into banks operating in the country and urging them to halt the artificial scarcity of the Liberian dollar.

THE TRUTH OF the matter is, the Speaker’s plan is not the answer to the current predicament Liberia now finds itself.

IN TRUTH, Speaker Chambers is shifting blame when he should be providing oversight through the Banking and Currency committee of the lower house which should be working hard to ensure the local currency is protected.

TO USE THE ONGOING political theater and upcoming Midterm Senatorial elections as a borderline spectacle to launch an attack on businesses already struggling and affecting by the ongoing shortage speaks volume for a government that is failing to deliver on its promises to improve the lives of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.

THE SPEAKER, A MEMBER of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change has stood by while members of his party flaunt newly-minted LD500 dollar bills on the campaign trail when consumers and commercial banks cannot even find them.

IT IS TOTALLY WRONG and unfortunate for the Speaker to wrongly accuse local and foreign businesses of holding back the Liberian dollars without providing proof of his utterances. Even more troubling, the Speaker’s contention that businesses are holding back on the currency to make the administration look bad was done in poor taste.

JUST LAST NOVEMBER, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah acknowledged the shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes on the market and stressed the need for the printing of additional notes to mitigate the problem. 

THE MINISTER WARNED that if this is not done there would be no money to pay civil servants’ salaries.

SADLY, AT THE TIME, Speaker Chambers did not make any claims or lay any blame on the shortage on the local businesses.

EVEN AS COMMERCIAL BANKS faced a major fluidity crisis, which has led to constraining customers, and escalating exchange rate between United States dollars and the Liberian dollars, lawmakers have been mum.

TODAY, LIBERIA HAS a floating exchange rate system, with both Liberian and U.S. dollars being legal tender. Additionally, there are no restrictions on converting or transferring investment funds, profits, loans, or interest and the exchange rate is determined by market demand and supply forces.

IT IS SAD THAT a sitting Speaker of the Lower House would make such baseless utterances without a shred of evidence that has the propensity to cause serious problems for the government he is a part of.

TO USE THE ONGOING political theater and upcoming Midterm Senatorial elections as a borderline spectacle to launch an attack on businesses already struggling and affecting by the ongoing shortage speaks volume for a government that is failing to deliver on its promises to improve the lives of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.

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