15 January 2014

Liberia: Dual Currency Is a Threat

Photo: Premium Times
The U.S. and Liberian dollars are both legal tenders in the country.

Amidst the swelling rate of the United States dollars against the Liberian currency, Lofa County District number one representative said the use of dual currencies in Liberia is a 'shared nonsense' that needs urgent attention.

Rep. Eugene Fallah Kparkar told this paper in an interview Monday at the Capitol Building that the use of dual currencies do not only undermine, but is as well depleting the local economy.

"I see the use of dual currencies, the Liberian dollars and US dollars in the country as 'shared nonsense' which needs urgent consideration," he emphasized. He added "the use of the Liberian dollars simultaneously to the US dollars is a threat to the country's economy which needs to urgently be addressed."

The paralleled rate between the US and Liberian dollars stands at $1 US dollar to L$82 or above. The Central Bank of Liberia and other economists have indicated "market forces are responsible for the soaring gap between the US and Liberian dollars."

However, the Lofa County lawmaker blamed the problem on the ineffectiveness of country's revenue collection which he claimed is not aggressive in a way that enables the country generate enough money.

Rep. Fallah-Kparka said the ineffectiveness of authorities at the Ministry of Finance to collect revenue is not only posing serious threat, but also causes constant budget shortfall in the country.

He at the same time called for the comprehensive review of the country's fiscal and monetary policies, which he described as the "Americanized policy"

"Liberia has been so 'Americanized' and many people feel that without America or its currency, we cannot move forward and develop as other countries that are well developed with the use of other currencies like we are doing in Liberia," the lawmaker added.

Rep. Kparkar noted "it is now time to push away from that syndrome because other countries are being developed without the use of the US dollars or dual currencies."

Although Liberia is to the United States as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea are to the United Kingdom and France, he said that does not give government the right to maintain the US dollars while the country's own currency, remains insignificant.

"Liberians at every level now prefer doing business with those who have US dollars instead of their own currency. We have to strengthen our economic policy and governance system here. The way forward is to have a single currency," he said.

"It should be a matter of policy supposedly regulated by the by regulatory arm of government or that of the Central Bank of Liberia to commercial banks in the country that the rate of any foreign currency should be matched to that of the Liberian dollars; a policy that all banks give out Liberian dollars to its customers whether remittances from foreign countries or not."

Meanwhile, Rep. Kparka has buttressed Speaker Alex Tyler's call for budgetary increment to support developments in rural Liberia, saying that development remains a challenge in Liberia especially in the rural area.

"The revelations should not only be heard, but that it is worked on by various branches of government to transform the lives of ordinary citizens," he said.

"I understand the Speakers' speech and I sensed that he was speaking from frustration because he has seen the real conditions of our people while on the recent oil and gas consultation tour."

"I continue to say that the deplorable road condition in every part of the country, especially leeward counties which constitute majority of the country's population remain a challenge to the wellbeing of the people."

According to him, low budgetary allotment for county's development, is a major contributor to the poor health, education and bad road network in the country.

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