‘APM Terminals, BIVAC Rejecting Payment in LRD for Goods and Services’

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Rep. Edwin M. Snowe of Bomi County District # 1.

-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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Would these firms insist upon being paid in the US dollar or some similar hard currency if they were based in Ghana or Nigeria? Why should they do so in Liberia? Maybe our financial and banking authorities could clear up the mess by more effectively regulating, normalizing and managing monetary transactions in the country.

  2. The government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not tell the Liberian people why the US dollar is not on a par with the Liberian dollar. During her 12-year reign, the Liberian dollar did not come close to its US counterpart. No explanation whatsoever!
    The average Liberian uses the Liberian dollar on a daily basis. How does it help?
    If the exchange rate of the US dollar is 3 to 1, one must come up with 3 Liberian dollars to buy a candle that costs 1US dollar. How is it helpful to a Liberian.

    The whole thing smokes the smoke of an organized conspiracy.

  3. Fine move by the honorable snowe. My question to the honorable is: are all government officials including the president down to the lowest paid employees will be paid in Liberian currency?

  4. It makes sense for the government agencies to switch over to Liberian dollars. It’s more accessible for the majority of the people. The people who the government serves not the other way around. Why can’t payment be accepted in LRD at APM Terminals and BIVAC? It will help reduce capital flight and also reduce corruption. Nigeria and Ghana use their own currencies the Naira and cedi respectively and their economies are doing well. So why is Liberia so scared to switch over entirely to the Liberian dollar? Is it not the legal tender in the country? By the way the dual currency system helps no one. That’s been proven time and again.

  5. I paid for my passport with USD and couldn’t pay with LD if I wanted. Hopefully the government will accept payments for the documents issued by the government with the only currency provided by the government. I’m just saying.

  6. Let’s ask AMERICA to help Liberia maintain and control the $. Capital flight will be curtailed, just like you can’t take out more than $10K out of JFK or any major Exit point in America.

    Liberia can monitor the illegal sending of the $ out of the country if and only if it can stop entertaining and encouraging corrupt practices at the borders.

    The $ has always been Liberia’s official medium of exchange, no matter how you try to twist it! The GOL itself does not like the L$! And we all know that. We just not used to it. Liberia is not Ghana and please, stop forcing us to be like Nigeria or Ghana!

    Let those countries use their Naira and Cedi.

  7. I don’t know why this issue is only coming to light now. I was in Liberia in 2008 and wanted to buy bags of cement for a project. Someone directed me to go to Cemenco. I got there and put in my request for 200 bags of cement. The lady apparently responsible for sale told me to wait. After about 1 hour of waiting, she called me back and told me that I would received my bags of cement in 2 weeks upon payment to the finance office of the company. Even though it was inconvenient to me because I had spent 1 week of my vacation and I had to leave in 2 weeks, I complied. I got in queue to pay the cashier. Cemenco could not accept LRD. When I questioned the cashier, he told me that it was the policy of the company. That was in 2008.
    Fast forward to 2018; ten years after; in fact, beginning in 2016 the banking establishments in Liberia has a policy now whereby they give 25% of whatever amount sent from abroad through Western Union, MoneyGram or any money transfer medium in LRD. To make it simple if you were to receive let’s say $1000.00, they will give the recipient $750.00 in US currency and $250.00 worth of LRD. This is not bad, I am not mad about this. Maybe it was put in place to boost our economy.
    The frustrating part is what some Liberian government agencies are doing along with some businesses operating in the country as the case of APM and BIVAC. What is the use of a government if that government cannot enforce or enact laws in the interest of its people. If you are allowing banks to get 25% of my money in your currency, then the government of Liberia should have the power to enforce that all businesses in Liberia including all agencies of the government to accept the Liberian currency as well. It cannot be only one way because you have power over the people. If you want your passport, pay in US; if you want to buy from Cemenco, pay in US; if you want your goods from the port, pay in US; if want to pay deeds document, pay in US; if you want to sleep at Robert Johnson hotel, pay in US; but if you want to receive $100.00 from our banks, we will give you $75.00 in US and $25.00 in LRD. Where I am I going to spend this $25.00 LRD? Oh, oh so you want to restrict where I spend the $25.00 LRD? Money is a legal tender that can be used to settle all debts. It should not be different in Liberia. You cannot have your cake and eat it. You either decide to completely get rid of the LRD and do all businesses in the US dollar; OR have the balls to enforce that all government agencies and businesses operating in Liberia accept the Liberian Dollar.
    Thank you

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