The New Dawn (Monrovia)

24 March 2014

Liberia: CBL Policies Are Sound, Governor Tells Public

The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor Mill Jones has expressed serious concerns about individuals that are found misinforming the Liberian public on its banking activities and policies and states that the policies of the CBL are sound and that the CBL, under his leadership, has been one of the public institutions that have provided the most about its policies and programs, as well as information about the economy. Government Jones said in a press conference held on Tuesday in Monrovia that the CBL issues an Annual Policy Statement, outlining what it intends to focus on during the year. The document, he said, is distributed to the President, Vice President, individual members of the Legislature, Ministers and the general public and that the bank also issue a monthly Fact Sheet, with monetary and other financial data, a quarterly Economic and Financial Bulletin, and a Bi-monthly Liberia Financial Statistics.

While the reform of the banking system is a major objective of the Board of Governors according to the Governor, he explained that those reforms are still ongoing for as he said in his words "When we took office as Executive Governor, there were 5 commercial banks in the country. The capital requirement was US$2 million. Almost all of the banks were facing major problems, including inappropriate actions on the part of some of their board members." He further stated that the CBL had to take difficult decisions to have the banks recapitalized, have their boards reconstituted and some senior management removed. "Today, we have 9 commercial banks, with the minimum capital set at US$10 million, and one specialized development finance institution." Governor Jones emphasized.

The CBL Governor also explained that credit to the private sector is up by 16.9 percent by end of December 2013; compared with 2006 when he took over as Governor, representing 6.9 percent of GDP. He stressed that the banking sector is making a significant contribution to the economy, compared with when he took office as the Executive Governor as he puts it, "And without such credit, the growth of the economy would have been more one-sided than is now the case. This means that the vision of the CBL to grow and strengthen the banking system has been a major factor in the performance of the economy." Governor Jones then listed a number of improvements and developments his administration has made such as a section that focused on microfinance and investing in the sector since it is an important tool in fighting poverty, the increase in the number of bank branches outside Monrovia, from 11 in 2006 to 32 in 2013, the development of a strategy for Financial Inclusion with support from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Rural Community Finance Institutions Project, the enhancement of the mobile money framework, and deposits with commercial banks to support the capacity of those banks to make loans to Liberian-owned businesses, the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), the development of rural credit unions, the development of a Reserve Management Guide, the launch of a credit stimulus initiative for Liberian-owned small and medium enterprises and the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee. "All of these programs are of the commitment of the CBL in the context of the objectives of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. Governor Jones, however, re-assured the public that the Central Bank is not doing anything strange, except that the Bank is breaking new paths in the Liberian economy.

According to the CBL Governor the bank's vision for the creation of the above programs was that Liberians would take ownership of the development objective. He further said that the CBL will not have to do it alone, but that the CBL must show its partners that it is serious. Governor Jones then makes clear that there is a broad agreement among those involved with economic development that ownership of a country's development program by the government and the people is important for success.

Governor Jones also named partners that are working with the CBL in these reforms and development processes such as UNCDF and UNDP that are working with the CBL on its financial inclusion program. The IFC and UN Women that have provided help for capacity building for microfinance institutions, policy development, resource mobilization, and dissemination of sound microfinance principles and practices and a Technical Advisor from UNCDF working with the Microfinance and Financial Inclusion Unit of the CBL. "These are all reputable financial institutions. If what the CBL is doing is new to some in the general public, we believe that more effort should be made to find out the facts. Go to the internet and see what is happening in other places." Governor Jones cautioned the general public.

Successful people are people who plan. They are good planners. Planning is the starting point for any dream or goal that you possess. Take time out to plan because the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. Make a list of things to do every day of your life. Write out your plan clearly on a sheet of paper. Successes are usually scheduled events. Failures are not.

Planning is tedious. It is demanding, and exhausting. Planning is really never fun. But, sometimes you have to do something you hate to create something you love. In most cases, people avoid planning because it is time consuming. Have a plan and I suggest if you do not have one then take a look at the ants.

WORD OF THE DAY

What is a Request for Qualification?

A RFQ is a written solicitation for competitive proposals in which price is not requested or used as an evaluative factor. Instead, technical qualifications are reviewed and the buyer enters into negotiations with the top ranking supplier. In the event that the buyer is unable to negotiate a fair or reasonable price with the top ranking supplier, the buyer will enter negotiations with the next highest supplier.

Exchange Rate

Commercial Banks

Buying LD$83

Selling LD$84

Forex Bureaus

Buying LD$83

Selling LD$84.50

Commodities prices on the Local Market

Rice US$43

Flour US$42

Cement US$8.50

Sugar US$45

Vegetable Oil (Tin) US$27

Palm Oil (Tin) LD$1,700

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