Ganta, Nimba County — The bordering city of Ganta in Nimba County has now become a place where Guinean nationals are flocking from across the border to come and buy the 'almighty United States dollars.'
Because of their constant presence in Ganta, the "formal" exchange rate in that city stands to be the highest in the country. One US dollar is currently being exchanged for 180 Liberian dollars.
In spite of the above rate, there are reports that transactions behind back doors have recorded higher rates than the street boards.
At the moment in Monrovia, the rate has now climbed to 173 Liberian dollars to one US dollars.
However, the continued hike in the exchange rate in that bustling commercial city of Ganta has not gone unnoticed and is having serious peril on ordinary residents of the city.
Several local business owners and other Liberians, including motorcyclists, have expressed their disappointments in the continued hike exchange rate.
FrontPageAfrica was told that Guinean Fulanis are mainly the ones flocking into Ganta from Guinea daily in search of the US currency, which is a legal currency in Liberia.
Speaking to our Nimba County Correspondent, the head for the Association of Ganta Foreign Exchanger Union, Napoleon Dean, confirmed the continued hike of the exchange rate.
Dean accused Guinean businessmen, whom he said are the ones coming in their numbers to buy at higher rates the US dollars.
According to him, these Guineans crossover into Liberia and transact their businesses and when they have obtained the Liberian dollar, use it to purchase at very higher rate the US dollars and take it back with them to Guinea.
The head of the Ganta forex union also blamed the city's business community for the increase of the US rate in the city.
Ganta businesspeople, who spoke with our correspondent, explained that due to the high rate, they are forced to price their goods the rate of the day.
Ms Justina Yormie, owner of Justina Bar and Restaurant, said the continued hike is effecting her business adversely.
Ms. Yormie noted that if nothing is done to stabilize the rate, things might spiral out of control and the rate might reach 200 Liberian dollars to one US dollar.
She is urging the government to work toward decreasing the exchange.
"As long as the exchange rate keeps getting higher, the prices of basic commodities will keep increasing," she added.
She also confirmed what Dean had said about the constant presence of Guineans; adding: "They are ones increasing the high rate in the city."
Another businessman, Bob Rennie Sackie, manager of West Africa and Savina-Giant Step, told FPA those of them selling fish are forced get the US dollars at high rates.
Sackie termed the act as "very bad" for them.
"For us, we buy in US dollars. We are forced to search for the US dollars," he added.
He, too, called on the President's Economic Management Team to quickly intervene in the process.
Several fish sellers, who spoke with this newspaper, told of how they now spend more to buy their goods from the cold storage. "We used to spend L$3,000 now we are buying at L$5,000 per cartoon," Kou Suah, a local fish retailer, stated.
Also in Karnplay, a city, which is on the border with La Cote d'Ivoire, Victoria Sehkar of ZLANKERSEH MERCHANDISE, also spoke of the pinch businesspeople in that part of Nimba feel as a result of the same high exchange rate.