Central Bank Turns Strict On Foreign Exchange Market
(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.