Central Bank Turns Strict On Foreign Exchange Market

Local Money Exchanger

(LINA) – The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has told  dozens of money changers from across the country that there will no  longer be untrained or illegal exchanging on money in the country.

This means that all money changers will have to be duly licensed by  the Central Bank before operating any such business, breaking away  from ‘business as usual’.

In the jammed-packed meeting on Wednesday in Monrovia, CBL’s incoming  governor Nathaniel Patray said the bank is now moving to weed out  unregistered or delinquent money changers from the market as part of  several measures being enforced by the Economic Management Team (EMT)  to resolve the existing challenges and safeguard the Liberian dollar  from further decline.

Consequently, the bank has mandated folks currently in the rather  volatile money exchange business to meet up with all legal  requirements or risk confiscation of their monies and prosecution.

Governor Patray told the audience that L$15 billion is in circulation  on the market outside the banking system, while CBL has control over  only L$1.7 billion.

The government is taking the necessary steps to curtail the current  excessive flow of the local currency which is causing inflation.

During the early hours of Wednesday’s meeting, the CBL boss warned  that as of Thursday, 19 July, no unauthorized person(s) in Monrovia  and other parts of the country will engage in the exchange of money,  and that those licensed by the bank will cease to display daily rates  on signboards.

“Rate placards shall be conspicuously displayed inside the bureaus,  and money changers will begin to issues receipts for all transactions  of US$20 and above,” said incoming governor Patray.

However, the governor said that money changers that CBL will validate  will have to go by the exchange rates as authorized by the apex bank.

He added that CBL will direct commercial banks to each open a window  dedicated to changing money and such window shall be operational from  2:00 to 3:00 p.m. daily.

The top Central Bank official further noted that the bank will jointly  begin to enforce policies on the exchange of money with the Ministry  of Justice, Liberia Immigration Service and the Monrovia City  Corporation as of Thursday.

Also during the meeting, the money changers asked the CBL and EMT to  give them more time to enable them explain some of the issues  confronting them before the enforcement of the regulations can go ahead.

This made Finance and Development Planning minister Samuel Tweah to  convene a special meeting with leaders of the national money changers  association in the later hours of the day in an effort to factor in  some of the concerns from the business people.

It is yet unclear what the outcome of the extended Thursday meeting  with the money changers would be, as there has been no fixed exchange  rate set despite its fluctuation between L$150 and L$160 to US$1 since  Tuesday this week.

About Cholo Brooks 14592 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.