Trust is Key to Reviving Banking Sector in Liberia


The Editor,

Liberia’s Central Bank Governor J. AloysiusTarlue did more talking than his guests. He tries to project himself that he knows more about banking than the Americans. Thank you Ambassador Michael McCarthy and the USAID Director. You can take a horse to the river but you can’t force the horse to drink.

You just don’t print money because you are out of money. People don’t trust the banking system in Liberia to put their money in the banks. So they keep it at home in their mattresses. When depositors can’t get their money when they so desire and are told there is no money, then you have serious problems, or that you don’t know how to run a country’s Central Bank, period.  

But Mr. Tarlue was speaking to the very American government ambassadors whose money plus that of eight other western embassies the Weah regime took from the very Central Bank without their prior consent and refused to return to them despite a public statement that all nine ambassadors signed requesting for their millions$. Did Mr. Tarlue address that issue or does he simply think the Americans have forgotten or forgiven Liberia for such an international diplomatic crime?

Maritime Commissioner, Len Eugene Nagbe who was then Information Minister when asked to comment on the illegal withdrawal of the western ambassadors’ funds said then: “we had to dig one hole to cover one hole because our government needed money to pay civil servants” or government workers, Nagbe sought to justify the crime. Really?? Are the western ambassadors responsible to pay unpaid Liberian government workers? But then this is Liberia where old ways of doing things become the new norm.

Mr. Tarlue failed to request for American banking experts to work in the Central Bank to teach the Central Bank of Liberia how to run a Central Bank and what it takes/requires to print new money. How much foreign reserves do we have for Liberia?

You would also think Mr. Tarlue would ask for American help to move away from two currencies to a single currency, be it to the Liberian or US dollar only for our country. The Liberian dollar is as worthless as the paper on which it is printed because it has no value or exchange rate outside of Liberia in any other country in the world.  

But blame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who lied her way into the presidency and told gullible Liberians that she graduated from the world’s prestigious Harvard University as an economist but left behind a great mess after 12 years as President of Liberia. She drove away the Americans with GEMAP who were there to countersign or approve every dollar we were to spend because she wanted to rob our people, She never put out yearly economic data on jobs creation and national unemployment figures.

But what is Mr. Tarlue’s educational background in banking and international finance and economics? I have been suggesting to President George Manneh Weah “not to eat crab meat with shame” and to hire his uncle from Grand Kru County, internationally acclaimed economist Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh to head either the Central Bank of Liberia or appoint him Minister of Finance and Economic Planning or still, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs to make President Weah “look good.” 

Many Liberians don’t know that Dr. Tipoteh while in his 20s and fresh out of college with his Ph.D. in Economics from Ohio State University in the 1960s worked in the White House as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers to the President of the United States of America. If your house doesn’t sell you the streets will not buy you. Just a thought and not a sermon.

Jerry Wehtee Wion 
[email protected],
Washington, DC, USA