23 June 2018

Liberia: Lawmakers Alarm Over High U.S.$ Rate

Photo: The Monitor
US dollars (file photo).

Members of the House of Representatives has alarmed over the constant deprecation of the Liberian dollar, leading to the unprecedented hike of various commodities in the country.

Currently, the Liberian dollar is trading as low as L$150 to one United States dollar, something the lawmakers say must be urgently addressed.

In a communication to Plenary of the House of Representatives, Montserrado County District #2 Representatives, Jimmy W. Smith, said the situation is creating an extreme hardship for ordinary citizens who struggled to fend for themselves. Plenary is the highest decision making body at the House of Representatives.

He however appealed to fellow lawmakers to cite authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia to state exactly why the bank has refused to regulate the exchange rate over the past few weeks.

"I am constraint to ask this body indulgence for the authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), to appear before this august assembly and give reasons for this unprecedented daily increment in the exchange rate and also tell us what is being done since this is a regulatory matter," he said in his complain to Plenary which was heavily backed by majority lawmakers.

However, during deliberation on the matter, few lawmakers attributed the problem to the departure of the UN Mission and other major concession companies, adding that at the moment, Liberia is not exporting major foreign exchanger earners, such as rubber, iron ore and logs among other resources.

The Lawmakers say unless Liberia can export, the exchange rate will continue to surge. They also called on Liberians to get ready as reduction in the exchange rate is a gradual process.

Following the deliberations, Plenary voted to mandates its committee on Banking and Currency to review the matter critically and report back to Plenary within two weeks.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Monrovia, the New Liberia spoke to several Liberians who appeal to the government to ensure the foreign exchange market is regulated.

According to them, the constant depreciation of the Liberian dollar will continue to have an adverse effect on their livelihood. They said if they and their families will survive without serious constraints, the government should take the appropriate measures to address the situation.

As a result of the situation according to them, consumers are now struggling to survive at the mercy of business people and service providers who charged at will.

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