Monrovia – The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) over the weekend burned over L$600,000,000 mutilated and old banknotes to make way for the batch of new money to commence circulation by early February, 2022.
The burning process that took place in the Bentol City, Montserrado County. The burning took place in the presence of civil society actors, members of theLegislature and development partners.
Speaking during the burning exercise, the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia J. Aloysius Tarlue said the act of openly destroying the mutilated old bank notes is part of the process that is aimed at rebranding the Central Bank of Liberian and ensuring accountability and transparency.
“We are bringing new money into the country and so we want to be transparent and accountable for Liberian people to know that we are doing the right thing,” Governor Tarlue said.
The CBL Head also praised the Legislature for giving the bank the authority to replace the old Liberian banknotes, many of which he says has been mutilated.
“We have some mutilated old banknotes in our vault and that we are bringing in some money into the country in February and so we have to create space to put the money in. We have a machine at the Central Bank but it takes a longer time for the machine to destroy the money. So, we felt the need for transparency, to bring the media, civil society and chairman of the banking committee in both the House of Representative and the Senate,” he added.
The CBL Governor further stated: “We have the UNDP, the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank; they are all here to witness the process. In the past we came to carry on the exercise but it was alleged that some of the money went back into the system.”
“So, this time we want it to be transparent, that is why we have invited the media and civil society actors to monitor the process. Our internal audits counted the money, our partners verified the amount and we set all these up and we are burning the money which is over 600,000,000,” Mr. Tarlue added.
According to the CBL Governor, the burning of the money does not mean that there will not be any mutilated money on the Liberian market. He said, there is still more mutilated money in circulation.
Governor Tarlue stressed that the new money, when it arrives in the country, would, be infused through several commercial banks around the country.
He added: “We just brought the hundreds and in June and July we are going to bring the five hundred notes, the fifty and the twenty banknotes. We want to be very clear that there is no need to rush. It is a two to three years process. We know that 2023 is an election year and there will be no money coming into the country.”
“We got all of our people in the different counties, let them take their own time, we are going to infuse the new banknotes through the banks, we are not going outside of the banks,” Governor Tarlue said.
“This is part of the rebranding of Central. We want to make sure that we are transparent and accountable. Let the Liberian people know that we are not political and that we are just doing our piece of work,” he said.
Also at the event, the Head of Banking and Finance at the House of Representative Dixon Seboe praised the CBL for showcasing what he termed as high level of transparency and accountability to the Liberian people.
“The Central Bank is independent and that there is no interference with its job. We are here to be onlookers to ensure that, intern of our oversight will have background information as to what has happened,” Representative Seboe said.
The Montserrado County District #16 Representative added: “One of the things we want to achieve as a whole is to have proper account to the total money in supplies and that today, the burning of this mutilated money to guard us in ensuring that when the replacement has done, we are going to have good accountability as to what is in circulation.”
The Senator of Grand Gedeh County Senator Marshall Dennis termed the burning exercise as a transparency at its best.
“The Central Bank has started a rebranding process and some of the things they want to achieve –one of it has to do with proper currency management. And so, it is a step into the right direction to ensuring that currency that is considered mutilated is taken out of the market,” Senator Dennis said.
He added: “The destruction of mutilated banknotes is a transparency that we have been calling for and it is a significant step in revamping the country’s economy.”
“The step that the Central Bank is taking to digitize our economy is that even banknotes like these will not be destroyed in five to seven years. The digital system that has been introduced by the Central Bank of Liberia that transactions can be done in an electronic way will save us the cost of the bank that we paid for –that are supposed to last longer will not be destroyed,” Senator Dennis concluded.