The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency is expected to report to the Senate plenary on causes and remedies for the current disturbing depreciation of the Liberian dollar.
The report of the committee chaired by Grand Gedeh County Senator A. Marshall Dennis was as a result of a mandate from the plenary last Tuesday, and was prompted by a communication from Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County.
In her communication dated June 20, 2016, Senator Lawrence called the attention of her colleagues on the state of the economy, especially the high speed depreciation of the Liberian dollar.
The Grand Bassa County lawmaker, who chairs the committee on Post and Telecommunications, recalled that former Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh, in 2014 blamed the state of the national currency on more Liberian dollars being pumped into the economy ever since 2014, when the Liberian dollar was trading at 86 to 1 United States dollar.
“The Liberian dollar continues to depreciate and is by far worse at the moment, as it trades 93 to 1 US dollar and 98 to 1 buying of US dollar rate,” Senator Lawrence noted.
“The signs are disturbing, especially now that the National Legislature has approved the printing and infusion of several more millions into our already dollarized economy.”
Senator Lawrence, who is also one of three senators calling for a reduction in the proliferation of political parties, then asked Senate plenary to request the presence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia to explain the depreciation of the local currency; what mechanism, if any, is being put into place to save the situation, and also to tell the nation if it should expect worse in the wake of additional millions to be printed and infused into the economy.
But as urgent and important her communication was, the plenary, however, voted unanimously to deal with the situation through its Oversight Committee, and it was given the mandate to report to plenary within one week (today).
In an interview with our reporter, Senator Lawrence expressed hope that the committee would this time be on time with a finding in the soonest possible time.
In recent times, senators have been complaining about the delay or complete lack of interest by those responsible to track bills and communications sent to committee rooms.
It can be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently sent a communication to the Senate informing that body that the economy was seriously affected due to the lack of local currency to meet national transactional needs, and pleaded with the Senate to agree “to enable the
Central Bank of Liberia to move forward in a timely manner to conclude arrangements for printing of the currency.”