Sirleaf Blames Finance, Central Bank for Soaring Exchange Rate

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Several renowned economists, including Samuel P. Jackson have said that the depreciation of the Liberian dollars to that of the United States dollars is as a result of the country’s lack of exporting power.

According to them, the exporting power would have helped close the gap within the balance of trade and other factors.

Because of this lack of exporting power for the Liberia, the prices of comodities on the local market have skyrocketed.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has a totally different point of view. She blamed the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Liberia for the current stress that the banking sector is undergoing and the soaring exchange rate.

Addressing the nation Wednesday May 28, on the state of the Liberian economy, President Sirleaf indicated that the lack of or the absence of full cooperation between the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Liberia, has created stress in the banking system and the depreciation in the exchange rate.

The drastic depreciation of the Liberian dollars to the United States dollars in recent times is having an adverse effect on the Liberian economy with the accompanying soaring prices which is causing too much economic hardship for many Liberians, most especially the ordinary ones.

President Sirleaf also said although government has been able to meet core targets, decline in the level of anticipated revenues on account of procurement fraud and corruption have combined to delay the payment of government’s financial commitment.

“Although core targets have been met, the decline in the level of anticipated revenues on account of procurement fraud and corruption have combined to delay the payment of government’s financial commitment, which, in the absence of full cooperation between the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Liberia, has created stress in the banking system and the depreciation in the exchange rate,” the Liberian leader said.

The country is experiencing its third budget-shortfall since Amara Konneh took over the leadership of the Finance Ministry. This situation has brought criticisms and lots of questions, especially from lawmakers, about Minister Konneh’s ability to head the fiscal arm of the government.

Minister Konneh, while appearing before the lawmakers recently to answer questions about why the continuous budget-shortfalls, told the lawmakers that the country’s economy was strong despite the challenges that nation was experiencing at the moment.

It can be recalled that Minister of Finance allegedly accused CBL Governor, Dr. Mills Jones, of infusing over L$8 million into the economy. This infusion led to the depreciation of the Liberia dollar, according to some people.

This accusation was vehemently denied by the CBL boss and the Finance Ministry also stated that Minister Konneh never made such statement.

However, the accusation triggered words of war between the two top government officials and their entities.

Further addressing the nation, the Liberian leader vowed to take the bull by the horn and make the hard decisions that will help relieve the economy of this devastating stress that it is undergoing by removing some government officials who are showing ineptness in the current positions.

Speaking from her Foreign Ministry office solemnly renewed her pledge to the Liberian people that the economy will be restored to its full potentials.

“This effort is already underway with my direct leadership. This effort will require changes in officials, prosecutions of offenders, challenges to partners, as well as reforms in policies and actions,” she said.

She also noted that restoring the economy to its full potentials will also require the various Branches of our Government continuously working together for the common good of those they were elected to serve.

“It will require new thinking and strategic repositioning. It may require new and more robust partnerships with civil society and the media. And it will require understanding from our citizens to whom we owe so much,” said President Sirleaf.

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