-Rep. Edwin M. Snowe
Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., (Bomi County Dist. #1) has told members of the House of Representatives that APM Terminals, the operator of the Freeport of Monrovia, and BIVAC, the leading pre-shipment inspection company in the country, are rejecting the Liberian dollars (LRD) in payment for goods and services, and are demanding payment only in U.S. dollars.
Rep. Snowe described the refusal to accept Liberian dollar payments as “willful and unrealistic.” In a letter to Dr. Bhofal Chambers, Rep. Snowe indicated that businesses including the APM Terminals and BIVAC are deliberately refusing the local currency in exchange for goods and services, thereby resulting in a high demand for the United States dollar which is the only acceptable currency at these entities.
Rep. Snowe, who is also the current chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, added, “Not only has the Liberian dollar been devalued because of this bad business practice, it has also caused exchange rate changes that are unrelated to the underlying pattern of trade as well as instability and uncertainty for struggling Liberian businesses and consumers who trade largely in Liberian dollars.”
Meanwhile, the House’s Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, Judiciary, Banking and Currency, including Commerce and Industry, have been mandated to probe the accusation and report within two weeks.
The plenary took the decision on Tuesday during the 6th day sitting of the 1st session of the 54th Legislature.
It may be recalled that following discussion on the matter, a motion proffered by Hon. Larry Younquoi of Electoral District 8 Nimba County was accepted by plenary.
When contacted yesterday for her reaction concerning the refusal to accept Liberian dollars as raised by Rep. Snowe, Madam Marlene Peterson of APM Terminals promised to check with APM Terminals’ commercial office for an immediate reaction but she later informed the Daily Observer, “I gave your cell number to the appropriate authority, and they will call you.” Unfortunately, no one responded up to press time yesterday.
Also a senior official of BIVAC, when contacted for comment, declined to comment “until we consult with our contractural party in the Government.” He explained that, since BIVAC has a contract with the Government of Liberia, an official response should come following consultation with Liberian government.