On Thursday, March 18, 2021, members of the House of Representatives unanimously approved the printing of a new Liberian dollar currency in the tune of forty-eight Billion. Speaking with ELBC Friday, March 19, 2021, Rep. Gray disclosed that there were public hearings held among members of the Lower House and the Committee on Banking and Finance before reaching the decision. Rep. Gray, who is the Chairman on Executive at the House of Representatives, further disclosed that the unanimous decision by the House of Representatives is in the best interest of the Liberian people.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker added that series of discussions were held with national and international stakeholders to approve the printing of new banknotes. It can be recalled that in February of this year, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), formally requested the 54th Legislature to approve the printing of L$48.733 billion new banknotes to replace the current family of banknotes including an L$8 billion-plus mutilated Liberian dollars on the market. In a communication to the House of Representatives, the CBL, through its Executive Governor, J. Aloysius Tarlue, informed the lawmakers that the money requested is needed to address the country’s current liquidity demands for three years (2021-2023) and restoring confidence in the Liberian dollars.
“I have the honor to present my sincere compliments and herewith submit to you and the Honorable House of Representatives, Resolution No. BR-02/2021 of the Board of Governors of the CBL about a currency reform proposal for comprehensive replacement of the existing family of Liberian dollars banknotes in three years (2021-2023) for consideration and approval in compliance with Section 23 of the CBL Act. Based on the CBL forecast, the total projected amount of new banknotes to be printed isL$48.733,” Mr. Tarlue wrote in his communication.
The bank then outlined that L$35,769 billion will be printed in 2021 (at a cost of US$39.693 million); L$7.536 billion in 2022 (at the cost of US$3.630 million), and L$5.402 billion in 2023 (at a cost of US$2.199 million) to meet the current and medium-term currency demands. The CBL request to print a new family of banknotes comes amid an acute shortage of local currency in the banks, forcing tellers to restrict daily withdrawal, something that continues to anger customers and sometimes leaving them stranded.
The request was also in line with President George Manneh Weah’s recent appeal to legislators in his 4th Annual Message on January 25, 2021 to act swiftly to resolve the situation before the next season of high demand for cash. The President pleaded with lawmakers to quickly approve the printing of a new family of Liberian banknotes to rescue the liquidity pressure on the Liberian dollar which is he termed as an aggravated increasing demand for the local currency.
“In the face of this liquidity situation, and while we endeavor to encourage our citizens to sustain the wider use of mobile money for transactions, the Executive will intensify consultation with the National Legislature to pursue currency reform, to promote monetary policy credibility and enhance confidence in the economy,” President Weah said. The communication has been sent to the Liberian Senate for scrutiny and possible concurrence.