Marketers from the Ganta General Market in Ganta, Nimba County staged a street protest, calling on President George Manneh Weah to address the escalating exchange rate between the Liberian dollar and the United States Dollar.
The protest coincided with the arrival of President Weah in Ganta City to dedicate a feeder road sponsored by the United States Aid for International Development or USAID. The head for the protesting marketers Madam Mamie Dolo, laments that the high exchange rate is posing serious problem for them.
According to her, marketers prefer the Liberian dollar to be the only currency for business transaction in the country rather than having the United States Dollar as a parallel official currency, adding "so that we can sell and send our children to school."
Speaking to reporters on the main street of Ganta, Madam Dolo explains the US rate is killing them slowly in the country. The exchange is currently between 145 and 146 Liberian dollars for one US$1.00.
She says if President Weah could urgently address the exchange rate that would be fine. But the President did not respond to the marketers' plea during his visit, which was intended to perform a symbolic turnover of the Ganta-Yekepa road project.
President Weah rather explains to citizens that he met the 68km road project in his office so he had gone to the county to have it kicked off. The project is being executed by the mining company, Arcelor Mittal, which operates the Nimba Mount.
The Liberian leader vows to make sure all projects he met in office are implemented before embarking on his own.The Government of Liberia along with ArcelorMittal agreed to jointly pave the Ganta-Yekepa road.
Chief Executive Officer Joseph Matthew, says his company is putting up US$40 Million for the project. Also speaking, Senators Thomas Grupee and Prince Yormie Johnson both from Nimba, laud President Weah for the project.
Senator Grupee, a member of the former ruling Unity Party notes that President Weah shares the same dream of UP former standard bearer, Amb. Joseph Boakai, who told the nation during the electoral campaign, if elected President, road would be his first and last priority, which indicates a critical need for paved roads across the country.
President Weah recently secured two loans from private foreign institutions, totaling about US$1 Billion for road projects throughout Liberia. At the symbolic turning over ceremony, he reiterates that his government will ensure rural Liberia is connected with roads to help boost economic activities.