Governor Tarlue disclosed that over twenty-three billion Liberian Dollars(L$23bn) are in the hands of business people who have chosen to keep their money at homes or their business places rather than taking them to the banks perhaps due to fear. However, Governor Tarlue said the Government of Liberia(GoL) has planned to hold high level discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the printing of twenty- seven billion Liberian dollars(L$27 billion) that will go for a period of three years. The CBL boss spoke briefly on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 during an engagement with the leadership of the House of Representatives at the Capitol Building – the seat of the Liberian Legislature.
The engagement, which was aimed at giving members, especially the leaderships of key committees insight on the shortage of the local currency in recent weeks, was also attended by members of the Economic Management Team and heads of various commercial banks in the country as well as the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Madam Mawine G. Diggs. Following the brief open discussion, an executive session was announced for more critical discussions and perhaps decision(s) on a possible way forward. In remarks, Commerce Minister Diggs said the Ministry under her guidance will on tomorrow, Friday, November 13, 2020 hold discussion with members of the business community to ensure that the prices of major goods and services commensurate with the prevailing rate.
Despite the move by the GoL through the CBL to print additional four billion Liberian Dollars(L$4bn) to ease the problem of liquidity faced by the Liberian economy, the local currency in recent weeks has gotten scarce with the public finding it extremely difficult in carrying out their normal business activities. It could be recalled that on July 7, 2020, the CBL announced the arrival of additional L$4 billion banknotes into the country to ease the liquidity pressures that the Liberian economy had been faced with. In a release issued by the CBL under the signature of Governor Tarlue, it pointed out that the additional bank notes were safely secured in the vaults of the CBL Headquarters on July 7, 2020.
“The arrival of the new Liberian Dollar banknotes is good news indeed. It will help ordinary Liberians to pay for school fees, hospital bills and pay for other important belts,” the press release quoted Governor Tarlue as saying. However, since the arrival of the new bank notes, the actual reason(s) for which the decision was taken by the government seem to be unresolved, as the country still continues to experience serious liquidity problems, such as insufficient local bank notes in the banking sector or the stock market as a whole. “We don’t have sufficient money. If you came to withdraw or receive money, we will not give out more than US$100. Even the Liberian Dollars we have here is low. We are saying this just for your information. If you came to receive or withdraw more money then you have to try at another bank, but there is no money,” announced an official of the International Bank (IB) on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia.
The situation was not only unique at this bank and or its other branches, but several other banks and financial institutions. Meanwhile, this paper gathered that most, if not all of the commercial banks in the country, are still paying out mutilated and old banknotes to depositors, despite the infusion of a huge amount of the four billion Liberian dollar banknotes into the economy. In other instances, commercial banks are paying out the new Liberian banknotes to depositors in “peace meal”, making it difficult for them to meet their demand for cash. Financial analysts believe that authorities of the CBL have to ensure the commercial banks live up to the mandate of the Central Bank to bring relief to many of the depositors. Many of the depositors, who troop to commercial banks as early as 8:00 am on daily basis to withdraw their money, leave these banks with total disappointment, as they do not receive all of the cash they want and to make matter worst, the mutilated banknotes are usually many among the insufficient banknotes they receive.