Liberia: Printing New Currency Faces Hurdles

It was a hot debate on Tuesday at the Liberian senate when a member of the senate expressed his dissatisfaction over the proposed printing of a new bank notes.

President George Weah last week submitted a letter to the legislature seeking for the printing of a new bank notes of L$35bn. It would cost the government US$31 to print said the Liberian dollars.In plenary, Margibi County senator, Oscar Cooper questioned the sources of funding for printing the new bank notes. He said, "we will need US$3ml to print LD$35bln. Where is that money going to come from? The government now is running at a deficit of almost US$24bln," he asked the Chairman on banking and finance, Senator Marshall Dennis of Grand Gedeh County.

This followed the committee's report to plenary on Tuesday. The committee did not provide details on the sources.

"This amount US$31 does not include transportation, insurance and security and other things," he said.

Senator Cooper said that it would be important for the minister of Finance Samuel Tweah to be part of the hearing process.

He asked: "are we going to borrow the money? If so, from whom? He said that the IMF has earlier informed the Liberian government to protect its reserve. We have about 86% of the old money still on the market. This will bring further hardship on the Liberian people."

According to him, the CBL needed to provide more details on when the money would be printed(if it would be approved).

"The government is telling us that they will put L$21 billion in circulation. What will happened to the balance L$14bln? These are all questions that need answer.

Based on his concerns, the Chairman on banking committee, Sen. Dennis said that the report would go back for further discussions. He assured his colleagues that Finance Minister would appear during the next hearing, on September 19, this week.

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