14 June 2017

Liberia: House Summons CBL

The House of Representatives has summoned the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia to appear before plenary next Tuesday, 20 June.

Plenary took the decision on Tuesday, June 13, after a communication from Grand Kru County District#2 Representative, Numene T. H. Bartekwa, reminding his colleagues of alleged failure of Executive Governor Weeks to appear before the august body to provide reasons why the Central Bank has not been able to withdraw all mutilated Liberian Banknotes in circulation despite the printing of new banknotes to replace the mutilated ones.

According to Rep. Bartekwa, on February 9, 2017 a communication was sent to the CBL, requesting the Executive Governor and members of the Board of Governors to appear before the full plenary, but they have complied accordingly.

He says the alleged failure of the CBL Governor to appear continues to pose serious problem as the circulation of the mutilated banknotes still persist in the Liberian market. The lawmaker emphasizes that what is most important as contained in his request to plenary is that the CBL authorities should state the total amount of new Liberian Banknotes that was printed, but up till now, they haven't do so, so the mutilated money is still in the market, which according to him, is contributing to the rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the United States Dollars, which is not good for the economy.

In a recent appearance before the Liberian Senate, Executive Governor Milton Weeks disclosed that 10.9 Billion Liberian dollars currently in circulation are outside of the banking system and couldn't be accounted for.

He blames the situation on huge quantity of old Liberian banknotes that were put in circulation and have become mutilated, while others are pocketed by private citizens and companies.

Speaking at a public hearing in the chambers of the Liberian Senate on 2 May in Monrovia, he said this problem has put the CBL in a difficult position in replacing mutilated banknotes, pointing out that currently, the Liberian government is in possession of 12.6 billon of the newly printed local currency, and of the amount, only 1.6 billion LRD is in circulation while the remaining 9 billon LRD has been distributed among commercial banks , while the rest, which he did not disclose, is at the Central Bank.

Commenting on the economic situation, Governor Weeks further explained that the mutilated banknotes continue to roam the local market, noting that some commercial banks are in the habit of giving mutilated banknotes to customers, something which, he said, the CBL has threatened to sanction violators.

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