— And Approve 10 ‘important bills‘
After three long months of recess, the House of Representatives and the Senate have returned for their fourth session with a task to rescue the liquidity pressure on the Liberian dollar which President George Weah says is aggravated by increasing demand for the local currency, induced by many players in the economy such as mobile money agents, large numbers of ATM cardholders, and foreign exchange bureaus.
President George M. Weah, in his 4th Annual Message on January 25, 2021, urged members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to act swiftly to resolve the situation before the next season of high demand for cash.
“In the face of this liquidity situation, and while we endeavor to encourage our citizens to sustain the wider use of mobile money for transactions, the Executive will intensify consultation with the National Legislature to pursue currency reform, with the aim of promoting monetary policy credibility and enhancing confidence in the economy,” President Weah said.
He added: “In the current environment in which the CBL does not have control over the more than ninety (90%) percent of Liberian dollars which are outside the banking sector, the effectiveness of monetary policy is undermined. Our goal is to reset the foundation of monetary policy. Given the importance of the Central Bank to our economy, we will further implore the National Legislature to help strengthen its institutional independence in line with internationally accepted norms.”
The President, in further arguments to the lawmakers, stressed that despite the printing and delivery of L$4 billion in July 2020, the economy was challenged by the difficulty of access to Liberian dollars in the financial sector, largely reflecting about forty (40%) percent rate of mutilation of the existing Liberian dollar banknotes in circulation.
Meanwhile, besides the President seeking the approval to print L$27.5 billion in new family banknotes, the President also wants the Legislature to busy itself to timely approval of 10 bills that will promote governance; tackle corruption and help revive the economy.
They include: “The Whistle-Blower and Witness Protection Bill; The Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Preventive Measures, and Proceeds of Crime Act, 2019; A Revised Public Health Law of Liberia; The Convention of Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters; and An Act to Establish the Liberia Standards Authority.”
The remaining bills are: “An Act to Establish the Civil Service Commission; The Revised and Re-stated Charter of the University of Liberia; The International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement; Maritime Zones Act 2020; and An Act to Endorse the National Youth Policy of Liberia: An Agenda for Action.”