Liberia: CBL Working to Circulate L$4 Billion, Ease Consumers Concerns, Deputy Governor Nominee Tells Senate

Monrovia — President George Weah's nominee for the position of Deputy Governor for Operations at Central Bank of Liberia has vowed to work toward implementing effective operational policies and ensure that the bank continues to run a credible budget, follow requisite and statutory policies to procure currency, institute efficient banking operations and support the management team of the CBL to sustain the relatively stable macroeconomic climate.

The Deputy Governor for Operations is responsible for supervising the day-to-day operation of the CBL, including procurement, daily banking operation and expenditure.

Madam Nyemadi D. Pearson, appearing for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking and currency, Tuesday, highlighted a number of operational challenges affecting the smooth workings of the CBL.

Madam Pearson told the committee that she is fully aware that Central Bank of Liberia is a non-political institution and pledge to abide by the bank's policy and assure the Committee she will not compromise her "professional ethics"

Madam Pearson lamented that the negative outlook of the public regarding the Banking system revealed Poor financial services, low level of compliance, and lack of definitive procedures on currency procurement is making it difficult to achieve annual operational budget, a situation which needed a quick reversal action, co-sourcing of internal audit and huge workforce," she averred.

L$4Billion Insufficient

Addressing the controversy surrounding the lack of the L$4 billion in circulation, the nominee told the Senate Committee that the CBL is working to ensure that the recently printed L$ 4 billion (Four Billion Liberian Dollars) is in circulation on the market.

The nominee however said the amount printed is not sufficient for the market. According to Madam Pearson, there are L$ 21 billion in circulation with huge sum of mutilated notes on the market. This, she said makes the Four Billion Liberian Dollars grossly insufficient to address the issue of mutilated banknotes on the market.

She further indicated that the CBL is doing everything possible to ensure that the mutilated banknotes that come to the CBL does not go back in circulation. According to her, going back will undermine the efforts of the Bank to get the mutilated notes off the market.

Madam Pearson further called for the printing of additional notes in five, ten and fifty notes to replace the existing mutilated ones "Senators, the amount printed is small, so you will not feel the impact of the new money" she noted.

The nominee pointed out that if confirmed she will work to implement effective operational policies to sustain the already gains by the bank.

Will Work to Ensure Credible Budget

Madam Pearson promised that she will also work with the current team at the Bank to ensure that the CBL continue to run credible budgets, follow all requisite and statutory policies to procure currency and institute efficient banking operations.

Madam Pearson has at the same time pledged to Support the management team of the CBL to sustain the relatively stable macroeconomics climax.

Touching on achievements as Acting Governor for Operations, the nominee revealed that the current Team at the bank ensured the outsourcing of the internal audit function of the CBL to lend credibility to the internal control processes of the bank, a prior action, she said was demanded by the IMF.

Additionally, Pearson said the CBL supported government's efforts in negotiating an IMF-support program to Liberia.

Supportive of Bank's Policy

Madam Pearson told the Senate committee that she has been supportive of the Bank's policy objectives and functions, which are critical to macroeconomic developments.

She said since taking on the job she has employed measures to ensure the bank accomplishes its daily operational targets including budgetary management; efficient and effective banking services; Effective procurements and maintenance of the bank facilities.

Madam Pearson also said she has supported the guided assessment of personnel ethical morals; helped in the reshuffling and placement of individuals in strategic sections of the Bank; commissioned review and amendment of policies on documentation of business processes and procedures of the Banking Department and ensured the outsourcing of the internal audit function of the CBL to lend credibility to the internal control processes of the Bank, a prior action demand of the IMF.

Additionally, she added, she has supported government's efforts in negotiating an IMF- supported program to Liberia and working with her peers to ensure that the CBL comply with all commitment under the program, including monetary policy that will promote macroeconomic stability, governance of the Bank and internal controls, and strengthening Liberia's international reserves position.

Madam Pearson was appointed in June 2019 by President Weah to fill the void left following the departure of Mr. Charles Sirleaf, the eldest son of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was relieved of his position as Deputy Governor for Operations at the Central Bank of Liberia.

Mr. Sirleaf was arrested in March in relation to the illegal printing of more than $104m (£78m) worth of local banknotes, along with former governor Milton Weeks.

A USAID-funded report by the investigative auditing firm, Kroll Associates, looking into the alleged disappearance of more than $100m (£75m) worth of newly printed Liberian banknotes last year found that the CBL acted unilaterally and unlawfully by printing and importing into the country three times the amount of banknotes it had been authorized to do.

In May, the Criminal Court C dropped all charges against Sirleaf. Charges were also dropped against former Executive Governor Milton Weeks.

Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephus says the move is in line with Liberia's Criminal Procedure Law that give prosecuting attorney the right to file for a motion to dismiss a criminal indictment against any defendant.

Madam Pearson, who has vast experience in public and private sectors for more than 15 years, told the Senate Committee that if confirmed by the Liberia Senate she will bring on board: Professional expertise in banking, Good knowledge in administration and budgeting, Effective operations including procurement, Team spirit to the management and confidence in the sector.

The Central Bank of Liberia is the monetary policy institution of Liberia tasked with formulating and implement monetary policy; printing and issuing Liberian dollar banknotes and coins subject to legislative approval as enshrined in article 34d(i) of the constitution; administering the currency laws and regulate the supply of Dollar; and among others and determining and implementing appropriate foreign exchange Liberian regime.

The committee is expected to forward its findings and recommendations to the Plenary of the Senate for action in the coming days.

Top Headlines: Liberia

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