-- As Economic Management Team fails to convince senators on reasons for price hikes; reappears Tuesday
Following almost four hours of marathon questions and interchanges, the Liberian Senate yesterday discharged members of the Economic Management Team, but requested them to reappear next Tuesday for further deliberations.
The Plenary has also mandated a Joint Committee on Banking and Currency as well as Judiciary to do a comprehensive review of the document submitted by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to the Senate to determine whether it corresponds with the Joint Resolution signed and passed by the Senate for approval of the printing of new family of Liberian dollars banknotes and coins in the amount of L$48 billion, and report to plenary.
Senators yesterday raised serious concerns that the CBL in a communication recently sent to the Senate and the issues outlined in said document are in contravention of the joint resolution by the Legislature to print a new family of Liberian Dollars banknotes.
The Senate also wants to know mechanisms and measures taken to put on the market the initial L$4 billion that the CBL disclosed will arrive in the country in late November. The CBL Executive Governor, who headed the Bank’s delegation to the hearing, disclosed that the new family of Liberian banknotes will be infused on the market within the next five to six weeks.
However, Senators Botoe Kanneh of Gbarpolu County, H. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County, and Steven Zargo of Lofa County, among others, took serious exceptions to the CBL’s assertion that the recent gains made by the Liberian dollars against the US dollars is welcoming in line with sound economic theory.
The Senators argued that the common citizens are interested in the trickle-down effect with respect to the low exchange rate against the high cost of living. They also expressed concern over the CBL communication of August 4, 2021, on the inclusion of L$1,000 notes as opposed to the authorization given by the Legislature.
At the same time, the Liberian Senate has mandated the Economic Management Team (EMT) to reappear next Tuesday, November 2, 2021, along with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning. Minister Samuel Tweah who heads the Technical Economic Management Team, was conspicuously absent from yesterday’s hearing with a letter that he was attending an important meeting outside Monrovia.
The EMT is reappearing to further explain itself on the appreciation of the Liberian Dollars on the Liberian market and the continuous hike in the prices of commodities on the market as well as mechanisms to remedy the situation.
Although the chairman of the team was absent, other members in attendance included CBL Executive Governor J. Aloycious Tarlue, the Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, Dr. Musa Dukuly; Minister of Commerce, Marwine Diggs; Natty B. Davies from the Liberian Chamber of Commerce; as well as the President of the Liberia Bankers Association, John B. S. Davies and a representative of the Liberian Business Association, amongst others.
It is expected that the reappearance of EMT will address several unanswered questions surrounding the appreciation of the Liberian dollars, while prices of commodities on the market continue to increase.