Liberia: Pres. Weah Errs

-Sen. Dillon

Opposition Senator Abraham Darius Dillon launches a stinking attack against the Weah administration, saying, the President and his team of officials are in "total error" in requesting printing and replacement of the Liberian banknotes.

President Weah had summoned members of the Liberian Legislature from annual break for a week-long stay at the Capitol to approve the printing of new banknotes, among other businesses. The request comes amid severe shortage of local banknotes that has rendered the government unable to pay salary for months.

But addressing a news conference in Monrovia Tuesday, December 03, at the Capitol, Sen. Dillon argued the decision to print new currency does not fall within the purview of the President; instead, the board of governors of the Central Bank of Liberia.The opposition Liberty Party vice chairman for political affairs says there are vital issues that need to be resolved before the thought to print money.

Article 34 (d) of the Constitution of Liberia states the Legislature shall levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise and other revenues, borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic, subject to the following qualifications: (ii) no monies shall be drawn from the treasure except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of the President; and no coin shall be minted or national currency issued except by the expressed authority of the Legislature. An annual statement and account of the expenditure of all public monies shall be submitted by the office of the President to the Legislature and published once a year.

Dillon demands that the governing Coalition for Democratic Change-led government should logically conclude the 'LRD16 Billion saga' and provide comprehensive report on a US$25 million mop-up exercise conducted by Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah before the printing of new currency.

"President [Weah] wants us to allow him to print money; I'm still not inclined to understand how missing billion saga was resolved and the mop-up exercise of excess Liberian dollars from the market was handled that have led to shortage of the local currency on the Liberian market. Our currency now cannot be seen on the market. They have to tell me in clear terms how these matters were resolved before calling for the printing of new currency," he insists.

According to him, it does not make sense for government to reportedly sweep these vital issues under the carpet and muster courage to ask members of the legislature to return only for the printing of new currency.

He calls for the dismissal of Minister Tweah, if the economy is to be stabilized, accusing the Finance Minister of being one of the contributing factors derailing the economy thru incompetence.

"The current Finance Minister cannot be sitting and I give approval for the printing of money. Samuel Tweah must be fired. He presided over mop-up exercise that today we don't [know] about. He needs to go and the President must [fire] him if he wants new currency to be printed," Sen. Dillon asserts at the news conference.

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