Central Bank Governor Mills Jones has blamed illegal money exchangers for the staggering foreign exchange rate between the United States Dollars and the Liberian Dollars on the market. The exchange rate between the USD and the LD is put at US$1 to L$76.5. According to him, illegal money peddlers were undermining the exchange rate by posting artificial rates on the market. Speaking Thursday when he appeared before the House of Representatives, Governor Jones said the supply of money in the economy does not justify the sharp increase in the exchange rate between the USD and the LD.
The CBL boss was invited to give reasons responsible for the rapid increase in the exchange rate between the Liberian and United States Dollars and the continuous closure of the National Housing and Saving Banks.
Plenary agreed to invite Governor Jones last week following a communication from Rep. Julius F. Berrain.
In the letter, the CDC lawmaker informed his colleagues that the continuous increase in the exchange rate is causing serious economy burden on the lives of the ordinary people.
Rep. Berrain also wants the CBL Boss provide information on the long closure of the National Housing and Saving Bank as well as the status of depositors funds with Housing bank.
The bank has been closed since the early 1990 owing to the civil conflict.
According to the CBL boss over time, the CBL has auctioned US dollars in the tone of over US$ 3 million to register foreign exchangers to help mitigate a sharp increase in the exchange rate.
Governor Jones also dismissed claims that the staggering US rate has resulted to inflation.
According to him, Liberia's inflation rate was down (one digit) and that there was no cause for alarm.
Speaking further, Governor Jones also informed the House that in addition to the staggering US rate, there was also a high demand for US dollars on the Liberian market.
He attributed the demand to what he called growth in economic activities.
The CBL Boss said demand for the US dollar is triggered by increment in the number of registered businesses and the Country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Governor Jones rejected public perception that the dual currency regime of Liberia was responsible for the high exchange rate between the USD and the LD.
On the question of the national Housing and Saving Bank, the CBL boss called for dialogue within the government to address the issue of reopening the Bank.
According to him, there is a high over drive as a result of deposits to the bank. He put the "over drive" at over US$28 million.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has set up a specialized committee comprising the Banking and Currency committee to address the high exchange rate in the country and to explore the possibility of reopening the National Housing and Saving Bank.