Senate Committee Recommends Plenary’s Approval to Print ‘New’ Money

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The debate was deferred this time due to the absence of the heads of the committees on Banking and Currency, Sen. Dennis (above); and Judiciary, Claims and Petitions, Sen. Sherman.

— But senators Cooper, Dillon, Sherman, Coleman, others urge caution

The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, has recommended that Senate plenary authorizes the printing of Liberian dollars banknotes in the denominations of L$20, L$50, L$100, L$500, L$1000, and coins be minted in the denominations of L$1, L$5, and L$10 as proposed by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

But during a period of very late afternoon debate on Monday, September 16, 2019, several senators took serious exceptions to the recommendations contained in the seven-point proposals.

The report of the Committee chaired by Grand Gedeh County Senator Marshall Dennis, noted: “Having exhaustively propounded on the issues, it can be concluded that the past regime infused into the economy unaccounted banknotes that is causing high inflation rate in the country; furthermore, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) draw down and the Ebola crisis, are having serious impact on the downward trend of the economy.”

In so doing, the Committee urged the Senate that if it must help in resuscitating the country’s ailing economy, “the printing of a new banknotes is a must, and must urgently be done.”

In its seven-count recommendations, the Committee requested that the plenary of the Senate authorizes the printing of new banknotes to completely replace the ones on the market; that the banknotes should be printed in a high grade and carries more and sophisticated security features to prevent counterfeiting, and the likes; that the CBL confines itself to the proposition document submitted to the Legislature for the printing of the currency, especially the mode of exchange enshrined in the document, as well as other monetary policies designed to avoid missteps and mistakes in the past.

The Dennis-chaired committee further recommended that the CBL put stringent policies and control measures in place to prevent hoarding, and other forms of economic sabotage; that the Senate deals with the CBL proposal to print the total amount of L$35 billion in various denominations as proposed.

The Committee continued, that the Senate authorizes the printing of Liberian paper banknotes in the denominations as L$20, L$50, L$100, L$500, L$1000, and coins be minted in the denominations of L$1, L$5, and L$10 as the CBL has proposed, and for reasons aforementioned, and that the Senate “grants the CBL authorization to print the Liberian dollar currency as proposed through a resolution signed by its two third majority members, and done in the Committee room this 13th day of September, 2019.”

Immediately after the reading, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, sharply reacted to the Committee’s report, wondering why the CBL should request to print L$35 billion, when the money in circulation is L$21 billion that needs to be removed from the market; “what becomes of the difference of L$14 billion, which was not properly answered by the Bank Governor.”

After the L$16 billion saga with the Liberian people, “this money will fall on them if not managed properly. We as committee members did not have due diligence to debate this within committee. If this Senate votes to approve this L$35 billion, we will put the Liberian people in serious, serious financial jeopardy, because many financial and economic questions have gone unanswered.”

“Whatever we are doing now must be done with due diligence so that posterity can be kind to us; so colleagues, please let the Committee take this report back, and bring it to us after our return in January,” Senator Abe Darius Dillon recommended.

The Senate legal mind, Senator Varney Sherman, a lawyer by profession, recalled suggesting to President George Weah during his meeting with the Legislature months ago, that as long as the Liberians continue to believe that, “some of our money in places that they don’t know, especially outside of the banking system, they will not have confidence in our money, and that lack of confidence alone impacts the value of the Liberian dollar. I suggested then at that moment that we ought to change everything on the market, and replace it with new notes, maybe that suggestion has an influence of what has come to us today.”

Sherman accused members of the Committee of “some fundamental issues it did not consider, such as the suggestion to the production of coins, which he said that the cost for producing coin is more than the value of the coin.”

“I will vote against L$1000 banknotes and coins. How do we have control if we allow them to keep L$35 billion in their vault? I am afraid that the Liberian people will not judge us well when they look at our immediate past history, as to how we managed L$10 billion, and then we tell them that we want to print L$35 billion,” Senator Sherman warned.

Meanwhile, debate continues in the afternoon today (Tuesday).

President Weah recently wrote the Senate, through the Legislature requesting authorization to print new local currency, to replace the current one.

In his communication read before Senate plenary at its 64th day sitting on Monday, September 16, the President informed his former colleagues (senators) that he was in receipt of a communication from the CBL, advising that the Liberian economy may be seriously affected, due to the unaccounted-for local currency infused into the economy that is causing high inflation; and has recommended the printing of new local currency to replace the existing ones.
“While the decision needs to be made now to address this issue that impacts the economy, it is important to note that the printing of banknotes will require your approval, in accordance with Article 34(d) through the 1986 Constitution,” President Weah noted.

In view of Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray’s communication, President Weah said that he has advised the Governor to seek the opportunity “to discuss this matter with you and your appropriate committees as you will dictate. It is my fervent hope that you can agree on the way forward to enable the CBL to move forward in a timely manner to conclude arrangements for printing of the currency…”

By a motion from Senator Alphonso Gray, the communication was sent to the Senate committee on Banking and Currency, chaired by Grand Gedeh Senator H. Marshall Dennis, to advise plenary appropriately.

The Government’s request to replace the controversial legacy of the currency comes as some CBL executives face trial for illegally printing over L$16 billion during regime of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

19 COMMENTS

  1. This is really good and necessary. However, government needs to set a fixed rate and a fixed time to transition to the new 2019/2020 currency. If not, we could see the new currency trading at a very high rate of exchange, thus making it useless. That responsibility to restore confidence in the economy and value to the Liberian dollar is upon the Central Bank of Liberia and the legislature.

  2. A wise person once said, “Few rotten apples spoil the bunch.”

    Mr. President, the faster you get rid of the wrong people (rotten apples) in your government, the better Liberia’s economic and political climate will look.

    I quote, “The President informed his former colleagues (senators) that he was in receipt of a communication from the CBL, advising that the Liberian economy may be seriously affected, due to the unaccounted-for local currency infused into the economy that is causing high inflation; and has recommended the printing of new local currency to replace the existing ones.”

    The new economic model to deal with Liberia’s recession is to replace existing currency: by printing new Liberian currency whenever the CBL cannot give account of “so-called” local currency infused into the economy? What a load of baloney (nonsense).

    Who will be held accountable for the short-sightedness in authorizing CBL to intervene when CBL allegedly infused US$25M in the foreign exchange market? Minister Tweah reported, “Only US$17M was used for the intervention and the balance US$8M was put in reserve with the CBL as a precautionary intervention fund”.

    It seems selective justice is being rendered only to former CDL officials who were allegedly accused of illegally printing over LD$16B during former President Ellen Johson-Sirleaf’s regime and nothing done to individuals who were involved in the unaccounted US$25M allegedly infused into the market.

    As long as Liberia continues to consume and doesn’t produce goods and services; doesn’t cater to small Liberian business enterprises; doesn’t build the right infrastructures, and doesn’t stop the massive corruption, this government certainly cannot tax; cannot beg; nor print new money to solve Liberia’s economic hardship.

    Also, Liberian Senators’ salary and other emoluments (travel, vehicle, housing allowances, etc.) amounting to US $193,416 per year, or US$16,118 per month alone contributes to “Lack of Confidence” in the Liberian Government.

    Yes indeed, Senator Varney Sherman, “Lack of confidence alone impacts the value of the Liberian dollar.”

  3. Why would you allow the CBL to print L$35 billion in “new” money (to replace “old” money), when there is L$19 billion in circulation, per their 2018 Audited Financial Statement??? Do you trust these CBL people with that kind of money in their vault?? Let’s look at their record:

    Aren’t these the same people (CBL) who printed L$16 billion that went “missing”?? Aren’t these the same CBL people who squandered US$25 million to “mop up the excess liquidity of our local currency”? Aren’t these the same people who are telling us that they don’t know how much money (Liberian dollars) is in circulation, but their Audited Financial Statement says it’s L$19 billion?? Aren’t these the same people who were allowing the government to use donor money to pay their bills??

    With that kind of track record, why would anyone, in their right mind, allow these crooks (CBL) to print L$35 billion in “new” money?? If you allow the CBL to print money recklessly, you should get ready for a hyperinflation era under Weah!!!

    • Martin, here we go again ooo; dey not pay/show for dey fis one den dey gowin bringing new one; ayah Liberia pepo we will stay long time insar dis ting dey pepo call CORRUPTION oooo.

  4. Debate right and get it right this time around honorable legislators. This is our last chance to do the right thing to replace and regulate the money issues.

  5. During the 12-year reign of EJS, the simple thought of minting coins for the republic of Liberia did not cross the minds of the president and her CBL employees including of course a son of the president. Her comes Weah with a proposal to mint coins. All of a sudden, some critics of Weah are badmouthing the proposal to print new money as well as coins.

    Usefulness of coins:
    The Americans use coins. The Canadians use coins. The Europeans use coins. Coins are used in Africa. Let’s not forget that coins were once used in Liberia. Coins are about to be introduced once again in Liberia’s monetary system after a 12-year hiatus. How can that become offensive? And yet a multitude of critics want all of us to agree that new money should not be printed. No way!

    Our Liberty money is badly disfigured or mutilated! Our money is so dirty and torn that sometimes the imprinted heads of presidents are chopped off. This is not a joke! Goodness!
    In some cases, a piece of scotch tape is used to connect a torn one-dollar note. But have the hardcore critics ever wondered why our money is so dirty?

    Answer… There haven’t been coins for a while in Liberia. The paper money passes around every day. From market women to taxi drivers to Keke and motor bikers and gas station attendants. This has been going on for a while. By all means, since there hasn’t been the use of coins, the poor Liberty has gotten dirtier than a dried piece of cloth.

    The children go to school every year! In the lower grades, (say grades 2, 3 & 4) the students learn about the use of coins. Examples…..

    1. 5 pennies = a nickel or five cents or.05 .

    2. 10 pennies = a dime or 10 cents… Etc

    The Liberian irony: When kids come home from school, boom! No coins to be seen!

    How have we the people of Liberia been helped by using paper money without coins for this length of time?

    Is it good for our money to look black or brownish?

    Did it help our economy?

  6. A word of caution to our over-paid under-achieving legislators: Please do not approve the request to print a dime until the “missing” L$16 billion and the “mopped up” US$25 million are accounted for in full. Also please require the Central Bank Board of Governors to technically explain how they arrived at the L$35 billion to be printed. Finally, at this stage of our economic and financial distress, it might not be a bad idea to invite the opinion and advice of the International Monetary Fund before voting to print any new notes.

  7. I think, Uncle F.Hney, the argument here is that will the amount of money in the system that is unaccounted for, is why people are urging caution. we already have L$16B in the system that no one knows head or tail about and $USD25M that we still don’t know what happened, it makes perfect sense to think through the printing of another billions of dollars that we may possibly not know anything about.

    Rumors abound that the money is already being printed, or has already being printed and is just waiting for entry into the country for use. who knows anything anymore. caution is indeed the keyword here.

    good argument though, Uncle F. Hney

  8. I argue that the senate approved the printing of new bank notes in a proper manner, that we may not face the same problem that we are now facing. because it is obvious that additional bank notes of our currency that is not accounted for is being used.

  9. Comrade Pete Kortuwah,

    I fully understand why the LD$16 billion as well as the US$25 million mop-up money must be accounted for. We just can’t continue to go on with printing money all the time. I am also supportive of slashing salaries of people you referred to as “underachievers”. Certainly by slashing the underachievers’ salaries, our financial problems will not evaporate in thin air. The savings from the slashed salaries will help. But then will the slashed amount be properly cared for? The whole thing boils to a double whammy!

    A hard sell.
    To suggest that all the missing money should be accounted for before any money is printed is the wisest way to go. But, don’t kid yourself buddy! The missing money will not be accounted for. That’s not to suggest from my end it shouldn’t be accounted for. It just won’t happen!

  10. Do you people think you can get anything right?

    Do you think you can get the Liberian economy up right by printing more $LD?
    We have to start all over.

    We all know, the Liberian said ” Book or Education was NOT important” in running the country; the best educaed should stay out?

    We will wait until the next time.

    You are NOT able to fix the Liberian economy. You can only destroy it more, more.
    God bless.

  11. Minting Coin, Yes,yes,yes and yes all the way.
    Our economy is in shambles, no coin value..
    I really don’t care what anybody says.
    EJS spent 144 months, she received more donor money than the PRC government that received 500 million dollars from the Reagan White House. People are crying around making noise about CDC. Ok Where were they when the EJS regime was squandering funds, increasing lawmakers salaries to $15,000.00 for 30 days. Nobody is a holy cow here people. I m not here to praise the CDC government. I m concern Liberian who think of long term solution.

    We need to increase our production power, to elevate us from a mare consuming society to producer. We need to bring people that will share technological knowledge with us,help train the minds of our youths. Economic strength comes with productions. There is no body who has mentioned this. The critics are good for criticizing regimes, no body traying to write a solution.

    All our universities should have at least an industrial college sector, well financed.
    We can only raise ourselves from poverty, if we graduate from being consumers. We should not beg for money, we should be in the business of building infrastructures like China, Vietnam, Malaysia Singapore, ,etc. We have manpower, but we lack the will to set vision to empower the very manpower we have. What I have written since I came on this platform (2017 September), is a solution to the Liberian problem. Long term solution, visions that are carved in the minds of the people.
    I might not be around if it pick up steam, however; it is not about me. It is about the nation, and the unborn generations.

    Once upon a time, we had few factories operating in Liberia (LIRANCO SHOES,LONE STAR MATHCES, THE LIBERAIN LIBYAN GLASS CORP. MONTSERRAD GROUP FISHING INC. 1976 to 1980), I was not around, but I read about it. Guess what? The leader with that idea was brutally murdered , that entire idea came to a halt, we became receiving loans, money that we cannot pay back. Four steps fronts, and 7 steps back. Here we are today.

    Let put our thinking in placed. Let’s find a solution, and stop the unproductive criticisms.

  12. If there’s nothing of value to back-up the money, Liberia will be printing mere pieces of paper. As it is now, a Liberian Dollar Note is not worth the paper it’s printed on. What a mess… When we had the OPPORTUNITIES/POSSIBILITIES; with all the monetary contributions, top priorities should have been given to REBUILDING Liberia’s once striving businesses. Money was wasted. No Doubt! A war-torn nation doesn’t rebuild by offering such high salaries and buying luxurious SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES(SUVs)

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