Senate to Debate Printing of LD48.7bn Banknotes Today

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Sen A. Marshall Dennis chairs Senate committee on Banking and Currency

— After its joint committee recommends concurrence with House of Representatives

The Liberian Senate yesterday unanimously voted to hold a special session today, March 30, to debate its Joint Committee’s recommendation to concur with the House of Representatives to allow the Central Bank of Liberia to print LD48.734 billion dollar banknotes.

The Senate’s decision followed its joint committee on Ways, Means and Finance, Banking and Currency, Public Accounts, and Judiciary’s 11- count reasons recommending the Plenary to concur with the House of Representatives to grant CBL the authorization to print new family of banknotes in the amount of L$48.734 billion to replace the current mutilated banknotes.

The joint committee also noted that the denominations to be printed include L$20, L$50, L$100 and L$500 with the denominations to be minted with coins shall be L$5 and L$10; and that the printing of banknotes and coins shall be only undertaken in 2021 and 2022, and that there shall not be printing and minting in 2023.

The Committee further recommended that sufficient logistics should be put in place to manage the currency reform process as recommended by the President of the Liberia Bankers Association, with adequate internal control measures as well as operational procedures maintained at the CBL as recommended in the Kroll investigative report.

The Committee also recommended that the CBL notifies the Legislature on the actual volume and the value of currency printed and imported into the country, at every interval in 2021 and 2022; and that the replacement shall only be done through the CBL, commercial banks and designated financial institutions, regulated and supervised by the CBL.

The CBL will work with the commercial banks at the same time to ensure that in the near future, banking services will be extended to other counties especially areas of tough economic activities.

The Senate, according to its joint committee’s recommendation, must ensure that additional funding required for the full replacement is available through budgetary appropriations and that the printing of Liberian dollar banknotes cannot solve the country’s long-term liquidity demands.

The recommendations also mandated that the CBL deploy other measures that would move consumers towards cashless transactions, such as bank prepay or debit cards, mobile money, etc, and lead the campaign that will encourage citizens to utilize these services as an alternative to cash-based transactions. 

The joint committee finally recommended that the CBL should reintroduce the sale of foreign exchange to large businesses, especially those engaged in the importation of goods through or with the active involvement of commercial banks so that large volumes of Liberian dollar banknotes are not kept outside of the banking system.

Meanwhile, following what is expected to be an exhaustive and marathon debate, the Senate will vote on whether to concur with the House of Representatives, at what limit or input, and thereafter take a break for Easter for some weeks.

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