As Gov’t Desperate For The Printing Of New Banknotes, More Questions Than Answers

As the Executive Branch of the Liberian Government headed by President George Manneh Weah ‘Desperately’ opting for the immediate return of members of the legislature to commence the ‘4G speed’ printing of a new banknote before the outburst of the Holiday seasons, specifically Christmas, many are wondering the abrupt of the disappearance banknotes on the Liberian market including banking institutions has created more questions than answers.

Over the past weeks, commercial houses including ordinary depositors at various banking institutions at most time disappointed over the withdrawal of the required funds, while at the same time bulk of mutilated Liberian dollars are usually dashed out to people who have gone there to do withdrawal from  their respective banking institutions.

The issue of mutilated banknotes has overwhelmed the country, despite the early printing of new banknotes during the reign of the former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have disappeared on the Liberian market, a situation that pondered many Liberians to wonder as to the whereabouts of the banknotes printed including the Five Hundred Liberian Dollars banknote introduced on the market.

Early this year, the Liberian leader President George Weah wrote the Legislature requesting the lawmakers to approve the printing of new Liberian banknotes in the tone of L$35 billion. The money, according to the President, will be infused into the economy when printed.

Should the Legislature approve the President’s request, the government of Liberia will need US$34 million to underwrite the cost of the printing the L$35 billion.

The President’s communication was sent to the Senate’s Committee on Banking and Currency.

Article 34 ‘D’ of the Liberian Constitution gives power to the Legislature to levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise, and other revenues, to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and to make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic.

There are clear indications that the government currently does not have an exact figure on the amount of money in circulation on the Liberian Economy.

A highly-placed source in the government told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that the government does not know the quantity of money in the hands of most individuals and business institutions, including GSM mobile money operators, forex bureau, as well as business people.

“People are hoarding money for speculative and precautionary reason,” he added.

According to this source, when the new money is printed, the government will then be able to know the nature of businesses with huge sums of Liberian dollars and those involved in money laundering.

“All of the money printed will not enter the market at once. When money is printed, it is placed in two vaults — reserve and operational. The one in operational is call money and the in reserve is not until it enters operational,” our source further disclosed.

Further supporting the prining of the new currency, another source in the government told FrontPageAfrica that the new currency will help reduce the rate of inflation as well as appreciate it against its US Dollar counterpart.

“The exercise will restore confidence in the monetary system and will be transparent and closely monitored by international experts. Once printed individual, business people will have to exchange the old notes at the CBL,” the source told FPA.

Design of New Money

It is not clear what the design of the new banknote will be. However, sometime early this year, a multi-colored new banknote bearing the face of President Weah, appeared on social media. Speculation began to abound that the Weah-led administration was in the offing of printing new banknotes.

When this banknote appeared online, it drew a lot of mixed reactions most of which were negative against the President and his administration.

In addition to the President’s face is very visible on this purported banknote, the ‘money’ that showed up online, had the series number “AA 0553444” and it is a 100$ banknote.

L$16.5 Million Missing

In 2016, the House of Representatives passed a resolution approving the printing of L$5 billion.

However, a Liberian government’s investigative report found that banknotes worth L$16.5 billion remained unaccounted for. The report blamed the Central Bank’s management for “deviating from conventional best practices.”

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About Cholo Brooks 13507 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.