The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Senator Isaac W. Nyenabo, has informed the Senate plenary that his committee’s mandate to delve into causes of the continuing rise in the exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars have been completed and the report will be made today, Thursday, January 22.
During their second day sitting on Thursday, January 16, the Senators voted 19 for, with two against to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to make a comprehensive report to the plenary on the current situation regarding the continuing rise in the exchange rate by Tuesday, January 21, 2014.
But the committee pleaded with the plenary during Tuesday’s sitting to give it up to Thursday to be able to compile all interventions and comments from fellow Senators during last Thursday’s heated debate.
It may be recalled that members of the 53rd Senate expressed rage and vented their anger and disappointment following the reading of a communication authored by Senators George T. Tengbeh and Matthew Jaye of Lofa and River Gee Counties respectively.
The communication by the two Senators, dated January 15, said: “We have realized over the past weeks the high rate of the US Dollar against the Liberian Dollar. The rate seems to be increasing on a daily basis. The situation is causing the living conditions of our citizens to become difficult.
In view of the above, we recommend that this honorable plenary invite the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia to appear before the Senate plenary on Tuesday, January 21, to explain the high rate…”
Reacting to the communication, a majority of the Senators called for immediate actions, such as inviting the Minister of Finance and Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor to appear before that body to present a holistic picture of the economy.
Others like Maryland County Senator, H. Dan Morias, condemned the astronomical rise in the exchange rate and warned that if no decision is taken now by the Senate, the situation would cause the people to take to the streets one day.
The chair on the committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget Lofa County Senator, Sumo Kupee, who is also an economist, told his colleagues that the current situation was predicted months ago. He said there was a warning given back then stating if the rise in the exchange rate was not halted at the early stage; by December, the rate would have gone to 85 or 90.
“My suggestion today, is that the plenary empowers the committee to go back and conclude its work: or things will get worse. If not halted in the next couple of weeks or months, the rate might approach 90, Senator Kupee advised.