Liberia: Rev. Kortu Brown Describes Printing of New Currency as “Troubling and Unjustified”
MONROVIA – The President of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), Bishop Kortu Brown has lashed at the Government of Liberia (GOL) for not providing adequate and convincing justifications to citizens over reasons behind a proposal seeking the printing of new Liberian banknotes.
Bishop Brown is also the President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the Founder and General Overseer of the New Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church (APC), located in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.
According to him, the rationale behind the printing of new money raises more questions because the relevant authorities of the Liberian government have not done enough to provide reasons why the money should be printed in the wake of numerous economic constraints confronting Liberians.
He noted that Liberians will continue to experience numerous difficulties if the printing of new money is not properly handled by the appropriate authorities.
He maintained that government should holistically focus on finding remedies to economic situations that are responsible for the imposition of more hardship on citizens, instead of selectively finding solutions to these difficulties.
Bishop Brown said the current economic and political situations in Liberia are “troubling signs” that do not give credence to the printing of new Liberian banknotes, without legal consultation with pertinent stakeholders.
According to him, the lack of clear-cut reasons for the printing of new Liberian dollars has prompted insinuations, and compelled citizens to provide their own interpretations.
“Basically, the proposal to print new money speaks to wider issues including the economic constraints that we’re faced with. The government should be fighting to address the economic challenges holistically instead of cherry-picking; you pick one item over the other. We shouldn’t print money without proper justifications-that include the fact that we get legal advice. We need to unmask, why, do you want to print new money,” he stated.
“Over the last two years we argued about huge billions of dollars that was new notes that were printed for Liberia; those were new notes. I think lot of information has not been given to the public on the reasons why we want to print new money. It’s creating anxiety and other people suggesting that we want to print because we want to pay salaries.
“The economy is more choked. Is printing money the solution to it? So, I think it’s a troubling sign and government needs to provide more information on why they think that if we print additional money, it will help solves our economic problems.”– Rev. Kortu Brown
GoL’s poor justification
Barely a few days after a proposal for the printing of new Liberian banknotes hit the National Legislature, an Executive Committee member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Acarous Gray justified the significance of the proposal.
According to him, the proposal is intended to ensure that government pays the salaries of civil servants, the bulk of whom have not taken pay for between three (3) to four (4) months, ahead of the festive season celebration.
“Printing of money will also help pay our civil servants on time for the Christmas break, but you are kicking against it because you believe that if civil servants are not paid on time, they could join you in your so-called Weah must resign failed protest,” Representative Gray stated on the social media.
But according to the renowned Liberian clergyman, the economic consequences will be unspeakable if the government prints new money to pay civil servants in line with Representative Gray’s economic theory.
“When you print money to pay salaries; it’s possible that anytime you want to pay salaries you go back and print money. I think it has serious economic consequences for a country like ours from civil war, Ebola and a declining economy,” he added.
“The economy is more choked. Is printing money the solution to it? So, I think it’s a troubling sign and government needs to provide more information on why they think that if we print additional money, it will help solves our economic problems,” he noted.
The exchange rate
The slight decline in the exchange rate between the Liberian and United States dollars remains meaningless to vast majority of Liberians who are already impoverished.
The exchange rate now stands at US$1 to L$190.
Previously, the exchange rate between the Liberian and United States dollars was US1 to L$213.
But Bishop Brown intimated that though the exchange rate has slightly dropped in some quarters of the Liberian society, the prices of basic commodities remain astronomical.
“In the last few days, the rate has been declining. But the prices of basic commodities are still high. When we have artificial solutions, the problems are not really solved. Who feels the pinch, the ordinary Liberians? We have lot of troubling economic signs and to address that, we need to do that holistically,” he furthered.
The IRCL’s President stated: “The government should not proceed with printing new money without proper justifications or economic advice”.
Plea to lawmakers/citizens
The LCC’s President warned lawmakers against affixing their signatures to a document endorsing the printing of new banknotes in a hasty manner.
He urged members of the National Legislature to hold public hearings with economic experts to abreast themselves with the pros and cons of the matter.
Bishop Brown noted that attempt by lawmakers to endorse the proposal without establishing justifications, or benefits that the Liberian economy will accrue from the printing, will not be in the interest of the country and its citizens.
He intimated that despite the current economic hardship in Liberia, citizens must remain helpful and continue to maintain the peace and stability in the society.
According to him, government must enhance its performance on policies intended to resuscitate the ailing economy for the sake of its citizens.