Liberia: Opposition Collaborating Political Parties Slams Central Banks Decision to Print New Banknotes

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Monrovia – The opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has described as counterproductive to economic growth the refusal of the government of President George Weah through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to supply needed Liberian dollars, which it said has led to a complete shortage of the Liberian dollars on the market. 

The four-party alliance – former ruling Unity Party, Alternative National Congress, Liberty Party and the All Liberian Party – said the decision by the government a ‘daylight hardship’  on Liberians. 

“How can the government sit idly with such insensitivity to the Liberian people when prices of food, clothing and other essential commodities are still high while the Liberian dollar is appreciating,” CPP said in a statement released Monday.

“Our recent check on the CBL website shows that monthly data on inflation since June ending 2021 is yet to be published by the CBL. The CBL must wake up and not allow itself to be a puppet in the hands of politicians seeking their personal welfare over the Liberian people.”

The CPP added that one significant factor explaining this shortage of the Liberian dollar on the market during the last quarter of the year is the “deliberate and intentional” failure of the CBL to service Liberian dollar withdrawal demands of the commercial banks that are obligated to hold Liberian dollar current accounts with the CBL. 

This gross failure of the government, according to the CPP, to meet its commitments to the commercial banks consequently translates to the growing lack of confidence in the Liberian banking sector by the public.

“It is quite surprising to hear the Minister of Finance speak of achieving single-digit inflation in an environment of induced appreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar. This, accom- panied by the rapid eroding of consumer purchasing power, is simply a sophisticated and well orchestrated deception taking place before our very eyes.

‘Mr. President, the Liberian people deserve better living conditions than what they are now experiencing after all your campaign promises; regardless of how economic data and the facts are twisted, the average Liberian knows what it means to be hungry and deprived, CPP said.

“The people in basic terms, do not need anyone to tell them that as the local currency in which they trade and their salaries are paid appreciates, the prices of food items (especially their staple, rice), gaso- line, transportation fares, school tuitions and fees, among others, are expected to reduce. Poli- tics and economics are immiscible.”

The CPP said unfortunately, while “Liberians people suffer the excruciating effects of this economic contradiction”, some officials of the CDC government “are rather celebrating the suffering of the Liberian people”. 

“How can they claim that they are doing a good job when our people are crying this much?”

The CPP recalled that when officials of the CDC government were actively seeking legislative approval for the printing of additional Liberian dollar banknotes, they promised that this would bring to end, once and for all, this recurring last-quarter nightmare of shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes at the commercial banks and in the market.

“The Legislature must give back the operational independence to the CBL that allows the CBL to print Liberian- dollar banknotes in line with economic fundamentals and stop using the current approval process negotiations every time the CBL come seeking approval to print. Do the honorable thing,” the CPP said.

The CPP is also demanding that the CDC government fulfills its promises and urgently put an end to what it termed as “exploitative and anomalous economic situation”. 

The CPP called on the government to stop seeking “imaginary solutions” to the challenges of the Liberian economy and instead focus on predictable actions and systemic changes that will improve the economic fundamentals of the country.

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