Free Thinkers blast CBL over reason for unprecedented rise in exchange rate

By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas

swenThe Central Bank of Liberia has come under serious criticism over its latest reason provided for the arbitrary and unprecedented increase between the United Sates and Liberian dollars on the market.

The Central Bank of Liberia had just blamed the current situation with the continuous sharp increment between the Liberian and US dollars to the refusal of money exchangers at Foreign Bureau to adhere to the rate issued by the Bank.

The Bank also strongly warned money exchangers to desist from such ugly act causing financial problems for Liberians.

But in an exclusive chat with GNN-Liberia, the Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia National Chairman Morris Swen sees the recent move to warn dealers against arbitrary increment of Liberian-US Dollar exchange rate as shameful, belated  and one intended as a classic face saving strategy.

 Mr. Swen recounted that the Central Bank of Liberia is quite aware that as a result of the printing of an unspecified amount of Liberian dollars that was subsequently infused into the economy, the Liberian dollar has been depreciating at a very high and unprecedented speed against the United States Dollars.

He noted that prevailing situation of the exchange rate is of serious a national concern especially at the time ordinary Liberians are finding it difficult to make a living, surviving with just one US dollar a day.

According to him, the Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia is invoking chapter 3 subsections 3.1 and 3.2 to request Central Bank of Liberia to provide the following documents and/or reports.

Inventory records of total mutilated bank notes held in the vaults of commercial banks and the Central Bank of Liberia prior to the printing of new bank notes.

Swen named the documents and reports as the Inventory records of total Liberian Dollars in circulation prior to the printing of new bank notes, total amount of Liberian Dollars, both old and new banks notes in circulation after the printing of new bank notes.

He said his organization is also requesting copies of Financial Statements that contains figures anticipated in counts 1, 2, and 3.

Mr. Swen indicated that his organization completely disgusting over the manner and form the exchange rate is increasing on the Liberian market, terming as unacceptable.

“If this is not practically mitigated by the Central Bank of Liberia we will in addition to the FOI request and employ other citizens driven actions to compel compliance, the Free Thinkers Chairman lamented”.

Swen pointed out that for too long hardship, deprivation, and poverty have been imposed on the Liberian people as a result of poor public policies, making specific reference to what he described as the Central Bank of Liberia’s action to infuse additional and unspecified amount of Liberian dollars into the economy is a case in point.

Swen in the same vein admonished both Houses of the National Legislature to initiate a process that will guarantee that CBL Governor Weeks and the rest of his monetary team account for the high level of deception that is associated with the printing of new banknotes.

He then recalled that request was made in 2016 by the Central Bank of Liberia to the National Legislature to authorize the printing of additional banknotes to replace mutilated worn-out and mutilated ones banknotes on the Liberian.

He further reflected that immediately after the granting of this request, the Central Bank of Liberia authorities introduced totally new and different banknotes with an additional denomination of L$500 note.

“This act on the part of the CBL amounts to national deception that is now subjecting the ordinary people to unwarranted hardship as essential commodities continue to increase on the market, according to Swen”.

He urged the Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor Milton Weeks roll up his sleeves and exert more efforts in amicably dealing with the issue of the exchange rate, something he decried is creating additional hardship for the Liberian people coupled with its corresponding effect on purchasing power.

There have been continues public outcry from mainly the business community and the ordinary Liberians over the unprecedented rise in the exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars.

 The Free Conscious and Objective Thinkers Chairman concluded by adding his voice will to that of former Finance Minister Amara Konneh, Movement for Progressive Change Political Leader Simeon Freeman that the reasons that led to 1979 rice riot, the 1980 bloody coup, and the Liberia civil war in 1989 are still lingering today and it behooves public policy crafters to take concrete actions that will alleviate the suffering of the Liberian people.

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About Cholo Brooks 13193 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.