12 October 2016

Liberians Faced With Two Local Currencies - Two Exchange Rates

Photo: Liberian Observer
Specimen of the new LD 500 banknote.

Monrovia — Money exchangers have been cautioned against undercutting the exchange rate of the new Liberian banknotes on the market.

The Central Bank of Liberia recently introduced new denominations of banknotes in circulation, replacing mutilated banknotes and controlling the infliction of US Dollars to the local currency.

Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson speaking to the FrontPage Africa Tuesday termed as "wickedness" the behavior of money exchangers involved in the act of depreciating the exchange rate for the new denominations of the new banknotes.

"This act is unacceptable. No one should exploit our people because many are demanding to get the new denominations," Jackson said. "I think we should discourage this act of getting fast money at the expense of our people," he said.

Some money exchangers in Monrovia are trading for lower rate the US Dollars to the new Liberian Dollars against the will of citizens interested in having access to the new banknotes.

There have been complains that money exchangers are in the habit of trading US$ 5:00 to L$450.00 of the new local currency while US $5:00 is traded at L$480:00 of the old banknotes.

But the Government of Liberia through the Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson has warned money exchangers to desist from the act describing it as exploitation.

Liberians have described as unacceptable the attitude of money exchangers. Madam Teresa Morrison was seen in a war of words with one of the money exchangers on Mechlin Street adjacent the Ministry of Finance Ministry and Economic Planning.

Madam Morrison anger came about when she gave the money exchanger US$5 and expected the rate as $96 Liberian dollars to US$1 which was supposed to be LD$480. But to her greatest surprise, the money exchanger gave her LD$450, something that brought exchange of words between them.

"This is a complete madness, why will he take advantage of the situation because government is introducing new local banknotes on pour market, I came and asked him about the rate and he told 96, I gave him my US$5 and I expected him to give me LD$480 but he went on and gave me LD$450 in the name of new money," she explained in anger.

The money exchanger without remorse defended his action towards his Madam Morrison. Peter Vah told FrontPage Africa that because the new local currency was in demand, he had dropped the rate in order to get his profit.

"When she came to me, I told her that the old money rate is 96 and the new money rate is 90 and she said she wanted the new money, which supposed to be LD$450, so I don't know why she is causing this noise around me my business center," he noted.

Due to the confusion between the exchanger and Madam Morrison, the exchanger had to return the lady's money.

A bystander described the situation as disturbing news for Liberia, "I am really disappointed in our own Liberians brothers and sisters with the way the handle issues.

Is it because people are eager to get the new money in their possession that's why they want to exploit us," Moses Coleman," a bystander asked rhetorically.

Embrace the Currency

Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson has called on the Liberian public to embrace the new denominations recently introduced.

The Deputy Minister's statement comes in the wake of reports that some Liberians are rejecting the new local currency.

Many have argued that the new local money introduced by government was strange and not much publicity was being carried out by the Central Bank of Liberia.

"For me I like the money but it is strange," said 42-year-old Edward Wiles. "I only got to know or hear about this new money when my little daughter and her friends were discussing it and I saw it in their possession," he said.

"I refused to hold it because I don't know anything about it.

The shop I am selling in here is not my own shop, I am not going to hold any money that will make my boss lady angry with me and cause me to lose my job," Teta Wilson who sells in a provision shop noted.

But Deputy Information Minister Jackson told FrontPageAfrica that despite the different look of the new denominations to many Liberians, Liberians must ravel the spirit of collectivism in embracing the new local currency.

"I am calling on all our people to please accept this money, The CBL and the Ministry of Finance are still and will continue to sensitize our people about this. I know that gradually we all will accept this money," he noted.

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