Central Bank of Liberia to Infuse L$4bn into Economy in November; Senate to Scrutinize Infusion Process

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MONROVIA – Senator Mrashall Dennis of Grand Gedeh County who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency has informed members of the Senate that by November, L$4 billion new banknotes with different features will arrived in the country.

The money would be hundred dollars denomination. According to him, it will be used to address some of the currency liquidity challenge, especially the local currency (Liberian dollars) during the festive season.

According to Senator Dennis, of the more than L$48 billion approved by the legislature to be printed, L$8 billion has been printed and of the L$8 billion, L$4 billion will arrive in Liberia via air transport by November of this year while the balance will arrived in early January of 2022 via water transport.

Chairman Dennis announcement caused a stir among the Senators with many being concerned about infusion process.

Senator Darius Dillon of Montserrado County and many other Senators were concern about whether the new banknotes being brought into country will balance and solve the challenge of Liberian dollars shortage and whether the new banknotes will be infused while the old banknotes would remain in circulation when the absolutely new banknotes are being introduced.

After a brief debate, plenary of the Senate mandated its Banking and Currency Committee to have meeting with the authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia on the procedure of infusion and report to Plenary next Tuesday.

The briefing is also expected to center on an update of the printing of New Liberian banknotes.

They also agreed to cite authorities of the Economic Management Team to appear on Thursday October 28, 2021 to provide detail information on the depreciation of the United States dollars and appreciation of the Liberian dollars.

The Senate also wants the team to provide information on basic commodities amid the decrease into exchange rate.

Giving a short briefing ahead of next week Tuesday, Senator Dennis said, the Central Bank of Liberia and a Printing Company, Crane Currency, agreed to print L$8 billion to ease the tension on the Liberian Dollars during the festive season.

It can be recalled that the Legislature approved the printing of L$48 billion of new family of Liberian Dollars banknotes to replace the mutilated Liberian Dollars banknotes in circulation.

Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Liberia informed lawmakers that it needed about L$27.5 billion to stabilize the economy since L$22.5 billion was out of the banking sector.

“The issue of paucity of the Liberian dollars is a grave concern, and whether we need additional banknotes or we need new banknotes, the fact is we need money on the market to be infused into the economy in three years period,” said CBL Executive Governor J. Aloysius Tarlue at the time.

People regularly complain of the difficulty of getting cash in Liberia, in shortages the central bank has said are due to high demand, few ATMs, and the circulation of foreign currency.

Liberia has two legal currencies: the Liberian dollar and the US dollar.

The country also imports the vast majority of its food, and wholesale imports and taxes are payable in US dollars only.

Among other economic woes, the country of 5 million people suffers periodic fuel shortages and suffers from high inflation.

President George Weah in January urged the Liberian legislature to approve his plan to print banknotes to resolve supply shortages.  

Liberia’s lower house signed off on printing new bills on Thursday, before the Senate approved it on Monday.

The new scheme will not introduce new denominations, although the five, and ten dollar bills are due to become coins. 

Liberia is still recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003, and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country. 

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