29 January 2016

Liberia Lawmakers Seek Answers Over 'Operational Losses' At CBL

Monrovia — Representative Bill Twehway (UP-District #3 Montserrado County) has written Plenary of the House of Representatives to invite the Governor of the Central Bank to answer to recent revelation made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her annual address that the bank realized operational losses. In his communication, the Montserrado County lawmaker said the revelation by the President requires inquiry and response from the CBL governor on what did President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf mean when she said the bank experienced operational loses.

During her state of the nation address, President Sirleaf disclosed that the Central Bank experienced operational losses but is in the process of implementing corrective measures. "Measures that will also need to be taken to ensure that well-intentioned microfinance loans amounting to L$644.1 million (equivalent to US$7.2 million) granted to savings and loans clubs are repaid fully. Gross reserves equivalent to 2.7 months of imports rose by 5.4 percent to US$560.6 million, compared to US$532.3 million in 2014," she said.

"Under the guidance of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), banking institutions continue to show improvements in liquidity and capitalization. This consist of nine commercial banks with eighty-seven branches in eleven counties and for the four counties that do not have bank branches - Grand Kru, Gbarpolu, Rivercess, and River Gee, Rural Community Finance Institutions have been established. The Ebola Virus Disease led to an increase in Non-Performing Loans, but the CBL is taking corrective measures to address the problem," President Sirleaf remarked.

Many lawmakers who commented on the communication alluded to the need for an answer from the CBL governor to give reasons behind the President's comments. In 2015, Representative Edwin Snowe wrote plenary of the House of Representatives calling for an audit on the Central Bank.

Akin to Representative Snowe's request, the District #3 Montserrado County lawmaker request was sent to a specialized committee but financial experts who spoke to FPA on anonymity said the President was in error on what she said about operational losses at the CBL. According to them, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf statement did not take into account the CBL annual report which has been produced and submitted to her. "She did not read the report--she spoke with no information on what has transpired," our source said.


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