The Central Bank of Liberia’s (CBL) recent crackdown on illegal foreign exchange operators has entered the Paynesville Red Light General Market.
Unfortunately, CBL field inspectors did not apprehend any of the foreign exchange dealers.
A team of CBL inspectors backed by personnel of the Liberian National Police (LNP) had earlier planned to arrest and confiscate any amount of money in the hands of ‘illegal foreign exchange operators.’
However, during the Red Light Market raid, the team seized some makeshift stalls the ‘illegal foreign exchange dealers’ had left behind after they reportedly vacated the area.
Prior to the CBL team’s arrival at the market, many of the moneychangers had already been tipped-off about their coming. They all did as expected and left the area, abandoning their sitting stools and worn out tables.
However, some financial analysts have predicted that the exercise against the moneychangers is likely to give rise to further increment in the prices of goods and services.
The analysts are of the opinion that the CBL action might create artificial shortages or hoarding of unspecified amounts of Liberian dollars from circulation.
They argued further that CBL should have first considered the ripple effects of its action on ordinary Liberians, whose purchasing power continues to shrink as the Liberia to the U.S. dollar exchange rate increases.
As a result of the hike in the exchange rate, prices of commodities, including transport fares, have increased.
Consequently, residents are calling on the CBL to design another strategy to address the current foreign exchange crisis.
For his part, a former moneychanger, Joe Marshall, 42, said the CBL should exercise restraints and allot some time to the ‘illegal foreign exchange operators’ to regularize their registration with the CBL.
“Consider our present financial conditions, as our economy is at its lowest ebb,” Mr. Marshall advised.