Liberians are pondering over the high level of speed the United States Dollars is overwhelmingly taken over the Liberian Dollar, the constitutional currency of Africa’s oldest Republic as the rate between the United States Dollar is drastically climbing to its highest peak.
The stage in which the rate between the United States Dollar and the Liberian Dollar has reached is amazing, as many Liberians, especially those whose income depends on local currency and cannot afford to the United States Dollars and are also compelled to purchase their goods and services are worrying over this situation.
Our reporter, who spoke to several owners of Liberian businesses in Monrovia and its environs over the weekend, said many of those spoke expressed repugnance over the high speed in which the United States Dollar is taken over the Liberian Dollar with the current rate between the USD and the LD hitting LD107.00 to 1USD.
According to our reporter, some communities including the commercial district of Redlight the rate between the USD and the LD has climbed as high as LD109.00 to 1USD, this our reporter said has taken many Liberians who into business and receive their payment in Liberian Dollars and but their goods in United States Dollars to express frustration over this.
“Authority at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is not doing anything to resolve this burden financial crisis, at the end of the day we who sell in Liberian Dollars and buy our goods and services suffers it,” Nathaniel K. Samuels, a businessman and a resident of central Monrovia in a chat with our reporter noted.
Other Liberian owned businesses explaining their ordeal, appealed to the Liberian Government through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to see reason on how best this situation can be improved, “It is troubling for those who cannot afford to get US Dollar, and are compelled to purchase their goods in USD, when we are making our money in Liberian Dollars,” Martha Kollie, a businesswoman adding her voice on the matter told our reporter.
Recently several foreign currency dealers in Monrovia are blaming the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for not preventing the widening of a foreign exchange black market they say is responsible for the escalation of the Liberia Dollar to that of the U.S. Dollar.
The official CBL exchange rate of the Liberian Dollar to the U.S. Dollar stands at 107 and 109 for selling and buying, and however, the rate is higher in some parts of the country, including Paynesville and Sinkor. Even some petty traders and street peddlers offer higher rates.
Foreign exchange dealers do not like this as it takes them from business and forcing some of them into a different kind of business. “We find it difficult to change a dime now a day. All of the customers prefer going to outsiders to get higher rate,” lamented Abubakar Barry of the ASB Foreign Exchange Bureau on Carey. “If I were in their shoe, I would have done the same thing.”
Like Barry, Mohammed Jalloh of the Central Exchange Bureau on Carey Street said the high rate would very soon leave many foreign currency dealers to give out their trade and lead to an even more economy problem.
“This is some of the reasons why the prices of commodities are just going up. The people want the U.S. [Dollars] so they are just putting plenty Liberian Dollars to get them,” Jalloh told this reporter in a Tuesday interview.
What seems to anger foreign exchange dealers most is that the CBL has not been able to protect them since they are legal dealers of foreign currencies, lamenting that they pay huge business registration cost but get nothing in turn.
The CBL requires US$200 for bureau registration, US$50 for application form and US$500 for security deposit, among others. “If they (CBL) take that kind of money from us and cannot regular and monitor the foreign exchange rate sector, how are they expecting us to get the money from to pay next time?” Saidou Diallo of S.T. Forex Bureau on Carey Street said.
“Look here, we used to be ten people in this bureau but we are only five now as the result of the losses we incur,” he said, pointing to the empty counters. For The President of the National Association of Foreign Exchange Bureau of Liberia (NAFEBL), Saika Kanneh backs individual foreign exchange dealers that the Government of Liberia is to be blamed in every aspect for the escalation of the exchange rate.
“We are a registered association to GOL (Government of Liberia), so there is need that they send people on the field to monitor the U.S. rate but nothing is been done,” Kanneh noted.
The president of NAFEBL stressed that his entity went through the requirements outlined by the CBL to be legal, saying that it was surprising that government had not protected their interest.
“We pay our money to CBL in the sense that in case of any problems there will be a solution, but nothing is happening in such direction”, Kanneh noted.