Liberia: Rev. Emmanuel Bowier Warns against Printing More Banknotes; Says It Would Create More Problems for the Country
Monrovia – Liberia’s former Information Minister Rev. J. Emmanuel Bowier has warned that the printing of new banknotes will create more problems in the country than fixing the economy, stressing that the government does not have a “secure reserve” to back the minting of new money.
“Printing new money could help or it could harm the situation,” he said. “Because if you put the new money in the system, it could ease things. But in order to do that, you should first have to take money from somewhere like a reserve, and where are we taking it from?”
Rev. Bowier said infusing money into the market should be supported by reserves and export of raw materials, but due to the turbulent market conditions and the global pandemic the situation impracticable for Liberia.
“I am saying this because we are not doing iron ore shipment anymore since the coronavirus outbreak, and Firestone is facing problems with the rubber price that has dropped on the market, so what are we depending on to print new money? In short, we are in trouble,” he said during an interview with FrontPageAfrica.
The mandate issued by the US Embassy in December 2020, warning US citizens to bring enough money whenever traveling to Liberia, “does not send a good image for the country” to the world, he said; warning that this could scare investors from Liberia. He also urged “people in the system” to derive solutions to fix the system before things get out of hand.
When asked how often past governments printed banknotes, the former information minister responded:
“Whenever there was shortage of money in the country, we did not even know it, because those days when the government did not have money to pay her citizens or employees, the older people got together and put their own money together and gave it to the government to pay people. And when the government got its money, they paid the old people back.
“Ask the old people and they will tell you. There was a time in this country when the government was not just a government; it was like a club, where friends were running the system. If something were happening in the country that could tarnish the image of the state outside, they used to forget about opposition and come together as one and solve that problem, so that the country’s bad name could not go out.
“So, who say money shortage did not happen in the past, but the old people solved the problem before it could get out. The people in power kept it as a top secret and credited money from the old people to pay its employees. And when the government in the past borrowed money, it paid back. Therefore, the government was trusted, but if the government borrows money and don’t pay back, people won’t trust the government.”
Comparing the post-war Liberian regimes with the current government, Rev. Bowier said officials of the current government are anxious to make others in the government “look bad”, thereby ignoring the injury it may cause the image of the entire government and system.
“In short, you have children running the system because they think like children. It is only children who have the behavior of paying debt when someone does something to them. That is the problem with the government today,” he said.
Rev. Bowier, who is famous for his history lecture series on many radio stations in the country, said he is concerned about the trending socioeconomic issues of the country and will “keep talking to calm the young people who are prone to violence” if he is given the airwaves to continue his series on local radio stations.
“As the situation is, we need to pray that the young people be inspired by God to behave, if not we are going downhill, because the young people do not have patience,” he said.
“So, if this money problem is not solved in a timely manner the young people could get impatient and cause violence. And if that happens, people’s houses would be broken into because the young people would think that the people, they accused of stealing the money will have it in their homes. And it could come to a point that if law enforcement officers cannot get their money from the bank, we are in big trouble. Because the police and soldiers who are to instill law and order are catching hell, they would sit back because they are dissatisfied and let the gangsters take over and violence would be unstoppable.”