The Inquirer (Monrovia)

3 July 2014

Liberia: Tipoteh Cites More Reasons for High Us Rate... Names American Citizens in Gov't As One Factor

Former Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Professor Togba-Nah Tipoteh has taken another look at the current state of the Liberian economy, the increase in the exchange rate in the country.

According to Dr. Tipoteh, the main instruments used by the citizens, especially, the money, which sustains the day-to-day wellbeing of the ordinary people has become something serious, "Money is something that people all over the world, including Liberia, that is being used every day to buy something," Dr. Tipoteh stated.

"Whenever people want plenty of something, but that something, like food, is not plenty, then the price of that something goes up, whenever there is much more demand for the food but not much of the food is available, then the price of the food goes even higher; so, is the case with money, each country, like Liberia, has a national currency or national currencies," Dr. Tipoteh averred.

According to Dr. Tipoteh, in Liberia currently, the demand for the United States Dollar is very high to the Liberian dollar, even though the two currencies are considered and recognized as national currencies but due to the current exchange rate, the Liberian Dollar stands from 80 to 90LD to one United States dollar.

The former Planning Minister said, Liberia imports almost everything to the point where by March of this year, they were importing USD70million more worth of goods than the worth of goods that it was exporting, which according to him, there are influential former Liberians in and out of the government now United States citizens, who influence the government to have more interest in the United States dollar because they need to send that currency to the United States to cover their families' housing bills and other personal bills.

At the bottom of everything is the lack of the commitment of this government, like past Liberian governments, to improving the value of the Liberian dollar by adding value to the production of our abundant natural resources like iron ore, rubber and timber.

The former minister further asserted "A 16 year-old Liberian child told veteran Liberian Journalist, Dr. Kenneth Best and I nearly two years ago, that Liberia has iron ore so why is Liberia no producing steel products; Liberia has rubber and timber, so is it not producing rubber and timber products also.

The present government spends millions of United States dollars importing furniture and intentionally giving up the opportunity of using Liberia's world class timber to produce furniture that would be used in Liberia and exported to many countries which could improve the value of the Liberian dollar and therefore reduce the high quantity of Liberian dollars used to get the United States dollar.

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