LIBERIA: House Endorses Printing Of L$48.733 Billion In New Banknotes, Including Coins

L/R: Hose Speaker, Bhofal Chambers and his Deputy Jonathan Fonati Koffa

Following an open appeal from President George M. Weah on Monday, January 25 during the fourth State of the Nation Address to the Joint Session of the Legislature on the printing of new family banknotes replacing the current family of banknotes, the House of Representatives, exactly after 50 days, unanimously voted to print L$48.733 billion new banknotes.

On Tuesday, February 18 — the 19th day sitting, the House voted following a report from the Committee on Banking and Currency, and a resolution. Over 60 Representatives signed the resolution in agreement to authorize the printing of the new family banknotes.

According to the resolution, the printing of L$48.733 billion new banknotes, as requested by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), will replace the current family of banknotes including the L$8 billion-plus mutilated Liberian dollars in the market.

The new family banknotes will maintain some of the old denominations of L$5, L$10, L$20, L$50, L$100, L$500; and new currency denomination of L$1,000.

It is expected to come with higher security features and designs that make it difficult to counterfeit.

The resolution says the new family banknote is necessarily needed to address the country’s current liquidity demands for three years (2021-2023) and restoring confidence in the Liberian dollars.

Quoting the Resolution No. BR-02/2021 of the Board of Governors of the CBL, the House of Representatives said the currency reform proposal for comprehensive replacement of the existing family of Liberian dollar banknotes will be done in three years (2021-2023).

The CBL resolution was signed by the Executive Governor and Chairman of the Board, J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr.; Mrs. D. Sheba Brown, member; A. Richard Dorley, member; James B. Dennis, member; and Amb. Timothy E. Thomas, member.

The House has since forwarded the approved resolution to the Senate for concurrence.

It may be recalled that Executive Governor Tarlue requested members of the House of Representatives to approve the printing of L$48.733 billion new banknotes.

The CBL’s request was a reiteration of President George Weah’s recent appeal to Legislators in his 4th Annual Message on January 25, 2021, to act swiftly to resolve the situation before the next season of high demand for cash.

The President pleaded with the lawmakers to quickly approve the printing of a new family of Liberian banknotes to rescue the liquidity pressure on the Liberian dollar, which he termed as an aggravated increasing demand for the local currency.

“In the face of this liquidity situation, and while we endeavor to encourage our citizens to sustain the wider use of mobile money for transactions, the Executive will intensify consultation with the National Legislature to pursue currency reform, to promote monetary policy credibility and enhance confidence in the economy,” President Weah said.

The CBL further noted that the House’s approval will fast-track the systemic procurement process of printing and delivering new banknotes in the country which may take six to nine months.

Accordingly, L$35,769 billion will be printed in 2021 (at a cost of US$39.693 million); L$7.536 billion in 2022 (at the cost of US$3.630 million), and L$5.402 billion in 2023 (at a cost of US$2.199 million) to meet the current and medium-term currency demands.

“The estimated cost of printing the full L$48.733 billion (569.023 million pieces of paper banknotes) for the three years is approximately US$45.522 million. It is important to note that this estimated cost doesn’t include domestic logistics requirements for the replacement exercise and the costs of the designs, quality, and security features,” Governor Tarlue added.

However, during the CBL amended Act in 2020, the Legislature amended that the request for printing money should come directly from the Central Bank.

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