Amid the outcry over excessive mutilated (tear-tear) local banknotes and the high exchange rate of the US dollar on the Liberian market, the House of Representatives has summoned the Executive Governor and members of the management team of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to appear before Plenary on Tuesday, February 14, at 11:00am.
The CBL will also give ‘clarity’ on its Upcountry Loan Scheme. The decision to cite the Central Bank was made on Thursday, February 9, predicated upon a letter from Grand Kru County District # 3 Representative Numene T. H. Bartekwa
Rep. Bartekwa said the CBL committed itself to withdraw all mutilated Liberian banknotes from the system upon completion of the printing of the new Liberian banknotes.
“However, in total contradiction of that commitment, Mr. Speaker and distinguished colleagues, the Liberian banking system and the market is still highly saturated with huge quantities of mutilated Liberian banknotes thus embarrassing banking customers and the general public on a daily basis,” Rep. Bartekwa said.
“In fact, in my view, this failure of the Central Bank of Liberia to withdraw the mutilated Liberian banknotes from the banking system serves as one of the contributing factors for the rapid depreciation of the value of the Liberian banknotes on the market. The reason is, the huge quantity of the Liberian banknotes that were already in circulation were added on by another huge quantity of the new Liberian banknotes that were printed without any withdrawal from the market, thereby causing confusion between sellers and buyers,” Rep. Bartekwa said in his letter.
Reps. Larry Younquoi, Clarence Massaquoi, George Mulbah, Bhofal Chambers and Munah Pelham Youngblood argued that the CBL must be brought before the full plenary to give ‘clarity’ on a lot of sticky issues relating to L$5 billion additional money that was printed, including the introduction of new denominations and texture, among others.
It may be recalled that the CBL announced that the bank, in keeping with its statutory mandate to ensure that the integrity of the Liberian dollar is uncompromisingly maintained, would shortly introduce a new series of banknotes into the Liberian economy.
The CBL statement read: “This new series include, among others, the unifying nature of the existing Liberian banknotes, and as such, has maintained all previous portraits. The CBL has also reinforced the security features in the new series, which are both visible and invisible.
“In addition, the bank has ensured that the new series is printed on a higher quality substrate to guarantee longevity and reduce porosity. The new series also introduces a new denomination of L$500 (five hundred dollars), in addition to the present denominations.”
Liberians are, however, asking: “why are the mutilated notes still in use when the new banknotes are in circulation?”