Against the backdrop of public outcry for authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to do something about the foreign exchange rate, the Liberian dollar has continued falling against the US dollar on the local market.
As a result, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed throughout the country.
Presently, US$1 is being exchanged for L$87 to L$ 88 in most parts of Monrovia and its environs.
In an interview with some local money changers, they expressed their dissatisfaction over the continued hike in the rate.
34 year old Frank Mulbah, a resident of Capitol Bye-Pass who changes money and sells scratch cards on the Carey and Warren Street intersection, said the hike in the exchange rate has affected businesses and has caused economic instability in the country.
He said due to the rate’s instability, most of their (money changers) transactions are done based on negotiations.
“This shows that we do not value our currency, which is very bad. The issue of dual currency is harming our economy. Major goods and commodities are purchased in US Dollars rather than our own.
When the rate increases, the Liberian dollar saturates the market; but when you spend it, it has little value. At the moment, $5 USD is equivalent to LRD$430.00.
The more the rate increases, the more expensive goods become. This is why I think the government has to put in place a mechanism that to eradicate the dual currency system and add value to our Liberian money .
Through such actions, I believe things will become stable and I the people’s cries of poverty will decrease”, Frank said.
For his part, 22 year old Abel Dennis, a resident of Crown Hill Community who changes money on Carey Street, said it’s about time the Government of Liberia decides on what is best for the country.
“If the government wants to make life better for us, they should solve this issue of dual currencies in this country. When things like this happen, the down-trodden masses get affected. When you change the money from LD to US for the costumers, the LD bills are plenty but cannot do much for the consumer.
For those of us changing the money, when you go back to buy the US, it becomes difficult, and we are forced to buy the US expensive. You will have to buy with more than you have earned”, he explained.
49 year old Cecelia Thompson, of Duport Road said the government should address the plights of the citizens in stabilizing the economy.
She however noted that the scarcity of US dollars on the Liberian market is a setback for many people.
“It is no longer easy buying food, paying our children’s school fees and catering to other family needs. This is because of the rate increases. As a result, marketers have to hike up their prices so they gain their profits as intended. When this happens, we become victims. Especially those of us who do not work or are into petit trade for survival; how do we cope with such a situation?
This is even affecting small local markets. The prices of pepper, bitter balls, okra and other items have been increased. If the prices are not increased, then the quantities of the goods are decreased. National government needs to address this situation before it becomes dangerous for the entire country,” she said.