Liberia: Methodist University Defies Central Bank’s Mandate, Demands Students to Pay Fees Only in US Dollar
Monrovia – George Dahn [not his real name due to fear of reprisal from the administration], a second-year Freshman of the United Methodist University, walked hours downtown Monrovia in search of United States Dollars. He’s running out of time to get US dollar in order to pay his tuition.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
The administration of UMU is rejecting Liberian Dollar and is demanding that all students pay their tuition in US dollar only, he said.
Dahn was forced to turn to the black market in order to obtain the needed foreign currency at a rate of L$164 to US$1 instead of the official rate of L$155 to US$1.
Currently, there are reports that there is a limited supply of US dollars on the market due to excess liquidity of the local currency; so chasing the few US dollars circulating in the economy is a headache.
Dahn stated the school’s policy is problematic, adding that since school reopened he has not been able to exchange the amount of L$ to US$, which is needed to complete his fees.
“US dollar is not our currency, but the school decided to demand us to pay our tuition in US dollar – this is silly,” Dahn said. “Too many students here have not paid their fees; they are just like me.”
Like Dahn, Samuel is another student, who’s struggling to get the almighty US dollars to pay his tuition.
Samuel’s parents earned their salaries in Liberian dollars, so he must exchange what he’s given to US dollars before heading to the bank to pay his fees.
The concerns of the students are becoming public as the demand for US dollar on the market increases.
Government has recently reemphasized that the two currencies – both LD and US — are legal tenders.
There have been several concerns of the CBL and relevant government’s agencies’ inability to enforce monetary policies that would sustain the economy.
In earlier September 2018, the Ministry of Justice thru the Solicitor General Daku Mulbah, filed a lawsuit against the management of DHL for their refusal to accept the Liberian currency.
He warned that the government was not taking the matter lightly, stressing that it would ensure that DHL is prosecuted for obstructing the functions of the government.
The entity was accused of refusing the Liberian currency in the amount of L$57,505 intended to expedite important documents for the Government to be filed at the ECOWAS Court in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, when FPA sought response from the UMU administration, it promised to comment at a later date and again on Monday, the Public Relations officer declined to comment on the issue.
Atty. Bobby Livingstone, Dean of the Communications Department, said he was no longer serving as Public Relations Officer for the school.
On its website, the UMU claims it understands the ﬁnancial situations of families and has instituted progressive payment schemes for students.
Established in 1998, it offers over 30 diploma, undergraduate and graduate programs.