23 July 2018

Liberia: The Forex Market Needs Serious Regulation


Pronouncement by the Executive Governor-designate for the Central Bank of Liberia weed out foreigners from the forex market is welcome news, but perhaps too late and counterproductive.

Governor Nathaniel Patray, a professional with a wealth of experience at the Central Bank told the Senate Committee when he appeared for confirmation hearing Friday, 20 July at the Capitol that he's considering plan to savage the deteriorated liquidity crisis in the country by removing from the market foreigners operating forex bureax.

While the intention by the new CBL boss may sound good, political will or practicability is another thing totally.

There have been attempts by government to bar foreigners from a number of businesses reserved exclusively for Liberians, but the reality is, Liberians are fronting for foreigners, particularly Lebanese nationals in running those businesses.

We all know that the forex market here is dominated by Fula business people and other nationalities besides Liberians. Foreigners own and operate most of the major forex bureax.

Getting them out in a trade that they have mastered so well to the extent that they now set the exchange rate in the black market would yield no positive result, as had been experienced in other areas.

The possibility of having more Liberians to front for them is very high, and the entire effort could become counterproductive with rippling effects on our ailing economy.

However, Governor Patray was thoughtful enough to caution the Senate that there is no quick fix to the economic challenges engulfing the nation, urging them to limit expectations.

He is being truthful, and we agree with him that it would take shot and long-term solutions to get us out of this mess that is subjecting ordinary citizens to grinding poverty and misery.

We believe it would require sincerity from all sides - business community, government officials and the ordinary man in the street to reverse the current situation in the forex market.


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