EDITED FINAL “Liberia Financial Transactions Go Digital Within Two Years”

 J. Alosius Tarlue

-CBL Executive Governor Says World Bank, UNDP, Others Are Lending Support

The Executive Governor-designate of the Central Bank of Liberia has disclosed that within two years, Liberia will migrate from cash-based financial transactions to digital transactions.

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Standing committee on Banking and Currency, Chaired by Grand Gedeh County Senator Marshall Dennis, Executive Governor-designate J. Alosius Tarlue told Senators that within two years the project of migrating the Country’s financial transaction system to digital will be fully implemented.

Mr. Tarlue told the Senate committee that several partners, including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), amongst others, are lending their support to the digital financial migration.

He said the national payment system remains a strategic goal of the Central Bank and an important catalyst for the digitalization of the economy.

“The year 2020 reflected the continuous growth and expansion in the digital financial services ecosystem with mobile Money and other electronic payment services of commercial banks,” Tarlue said.

Accordingly, he disclosed that the total number of mobile money agents recorded for 2020 increased by 22 percent to 18,039 compared to 14,793 as reported in 2019.

Also he added that in 2020, the number of subscriptions rose cumulatively by 8 percent to 4,442,021 from 4,114,914 as reported in 2019.

Governor-designate Tarlue further indicated that the CBL in 2020 issued the first licensed payment service provider, TIPME LIBERIA, LLC, to provide mobile money and ecommerce services in addition to Lonestar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia, mobile service providers.

Also appearing for confirmation proceedings, Deputy Governor-designate, Dr. Musa Dukuly, revealed that as part of its reform process the Board of Governors has approved the establishment of four regional hubs across the country beginning this year.

The first, according to Dr. Dukuly, is expected to be completed soon in Bong County.

He acknowledged that the benefits of the hubs are aimed at reducing the cost of cash shipment by commercial banks to various parts of the country, enhancing the cash management and operations of the CBL, including replacement of mutilated banknotes from circulation, and encouraging the expansion of financial services across the country, among others.

Dr. Dukuly further added that when he took over as Deputy Governor for Economic Policy at the CBL there were lots of reforms to be executed, adding, “I can safely say to you, that we are not where we should be, but we have made lots of significant gains.”

He said it was a huge task to have over 274 staff laid off  from the bank as one of the key benchmarks for the country to be enrolled into the IMF programs, something he said was successfully done.

Dukuly indicated that due to the many interventions, the issue of inflation has to some extent been handled, pointing to the stability in the exchange rate as one of the critical interventions.

Following Thursday’s hearing, the committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations to the full Plenary for outward actions as early as this week, according to Committee sources.