10 January 2014

Liberia: House to Summon Finance, CBL

The House of Representatives is expected to summon Finance Minister Amara Konneh and Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones to provide explanations on the rapid rise in the exchange rate and the general state of the economy.

Montserrado County District #6 Representative, Edwin Snow told journalists at the Capitol Thursday that the two officials need to explain to the Liberian people what has happened to the economy of late.

Rep. Snow said government is not generating revenue as anticipated due to the alarming increase in the exchange rate of the US dollar against the Liberian dollar. One United States dollar is being exchanged between 84 and 85 Liberian dollars.

With the rapid rise in the exchange rate, the Liberian economy has already begun to experience one of its worst crises ever to hit the postwar country.

A highly inflated exchange rate of L$85 to US$1 is further confirmed by some local marketers, who are complaining that the upsurge is affecting their businesses.

The situation is said to be reaching a peak not seen in recent years, halting government's expenditure, particularly construction and other vital projects reported to have come to a momentary standstill.

But Representative Snow said the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank, two institutions responsible for the economy should provide explanations.

He said Finance Ministry Revenue Department headed by Madam Alfreda Timba, which at the time exerted aggressive posture in the collection of needed revenue is not the same under the current revenue boss.

It is no secret that the budgetary fall in the 2013/2014 Fiscal Year is having serious impact on the implementation of key development initiatives, undermining government's ability to deliver on quick-impact and other important programs.

During the 2013 fiscal period, the Ministry of Finance pointed to the inability of the government to generate revenues from certain programs such as logging due to ban placed on Private Use Permits, as among factors contributing to the budgetary shortfall.

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