First Batch of New LRD Banknotes Expected in December

Above: Samples of the current banknotes in circulation. A new family of LRD banknotes is expected to replace these.

After a long period of outcry over the replacement of mutilated notes on the market, authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on Wednesday, September 29, officially announced that the first batch of the L$48 billion -- a new family of Liberian banknotes -- will be in circulation by December, 2021. 

Musa Kamara, Special Assistant to Executive Governor, J Aloysius Tarlue, and William G. Jlorplay, Currency Reform Committee at the Central Bank of Liberia, made the disclosure yesterday on the Bank’s flagship program, ‘Money Matters’ on ELBC.

According to them, the first batch of newly printed currency will be in the denomination of hundred dollars’ Liberian banknotes in circulation in December to ease the consistent shortage of Liberian dollars around Christmas festivities. Mr. Kamara revealed that the CBL is working with the U.S. firm Kroll Associates, USAID, and the International Monetary Fund in printing the new family of banknotes and that security features of the money have been completed.

He said the currency reform process that runs from 2021 to 2023 is in two phases; noting that Phase (I) will roll out between November and December while Phase (II) will involve withdrawal of old banknotes in circulation starting January.

“There is no reason why the public should panic, the three banknotes will work hand-in-hand until the old banknotes are replaced”, he assured.

He said to ensure transparency and accountability, the CBL is working with Kroll and the IMF.  “Thanks to USAID for all the financial support for Kroll to be with us.”

“Our target is to mop up the 25 billion in circulation. By 2022 we should be able to mop up 50 to 60 percent. Then by 2023, the entire 25 billion will be out of circulation; we have all of the control in place”, Mr. Jlorplay explained

Some callers on the program expressed apprehension about counterfeiting and inflation just by infusing huge amounts of money in the market without back up in export to generate foreign currency.

But Mr. Jlorplay responded that the Bank is carrying on the process with learning experiences from Ghana and Malawi, noting, “We have security features that will make it actually difficult to counterfeit the banknotes.”           

Mr. Kamara, on the other hand, stressed that the economy stands to receive several benefits from the printing of new money, including adequate liquidity and financial stability, monetary stability, macroeconomic stability, growth, and confidence, among others.

“We are monitoring the Liberian dollars in the economy.  Given the current monetary policy of the CBL, there will not be an issue of inflation”, Mr. Jlorplay also assures.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kamara further disclosed that 5 and 10 dollars denominations of the local currency will be minted in coins for a smooth monetary transaction and that the CBL will work with commercial banks and mobile money centers across the country in putting the money in circulation, rather than directly going to the public.

Early this year, the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, J. Aloysius Tarlue, officially wrote the plenary of the Liberian Senate, requesting its approval to print new families of Liberian banknotes.

The request by the CBL Governor was intended to replace existing Liberian banknotes including mutilated ones in three (3) years from 2021-2023.

His request to the Senate was in consonance with President George M. Weah’s earlier appeal to legislators during his Annual Message in January of this year to print new money. 

President Weah pleaded with lawmakers to quickly approve the printing of a new family of Liberian banknotes for the economy before another rise in demands for local currency.

In his communication to the Senate, Governor Tarlue said for consideration and approval in compliance with section 23 of the Act creating the Central Bank and based on CBL’s forecast, the total projected amount of new banknotes to be printed is L$48.733 billion.

The House unanimously voted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 following a report from the Joint Conference Committee comprising the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives.

The formulation of the Joint Committee followed amendments by the Liberian Senate to withhold the printing of the one-thousand Liberian Dollar banknotes and reducing the printing period to 2021-2022.

Prior to the Senate’s decision, the House of Representatives voted for the printing of the money, including the one-thousand dollar note between 2021 and 2023.

But the Joint Conference Committee recommended the printing of twenty, fifty, hundred, five-hundred, and one-thousand, including the minting of five and ten dollars in coins between 2021, 2022, 2024 in the wake of the 2023 elections.