Open Letter to the Liberian Joint Legislative Chambers

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… on the economic ills of the existing L$500 bills and the call to rethink CBL approval to reprint L$4b in L$500 banknotes

By Alphonsus Kamahnoon

Leaders among equals of the prestigious Liberian Legislative Body, and all members of the legislative order of the Joint Chambers, I greet you. In my honest quest to relate with your leadership viability on the current trends that affect the world as a whole, and Liberia in particular, I address this letter to you in the interest of our motherland.

Liberia has suffered trans-generational woes. Most times it is due to internal insobriety in the corridor of decision making. Other times it is due to intimidation by the intrusion of external elements. Where we are perplexed with inferiority complex in the rise of foreign interests, we become inconsistent to defending our dignity, while keeping posterity in mind. But worse is it, when we are bent to the quest of private luxuries at the expense of national coffers. To state, the resolutions that destroy nations are either intended or unintended. But where national  teetering or retrogression persists for nearly two hundred years, the question of integrity and competence on the part of past and present leaders (the influencers of a society of achievers) stands tall.

In the background, what warrants this letter is the spirit of nationalism which assesses the pale faces of the poor masses, on which all signs of stress and malnourishment are simultaneously glaring. Yet the headlines conveyed by local news outlets seem to unfavor the future, per the resolutions reached by the hierarchies in governance. Where government’s signed agreements are unreconcilable to the plights of citizens, insensitivity may degenerate such conditions. And with time, menaces may evolve into what may get the government uncomfortable.

Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to Print $4b in $500 Notes?

I was recently astonished to read CBL’s plan to print $4b in strictly $500 banknotes. This reminds me of my grief and prediction in Nigeria in 2016, when I first read from Liberian online newspapers that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime had intended to include $500 notes on the list of existing denominations. I was sad because I understood the implications. And with a bitter heart, I announced to fellow patriots with me in Jos, Nigeria, that if this was achieved, the value of the Liberian dollar would suffer massive fall. Sadly that same year, I learned that the $500 single bills were infused in the economy by CBL. I still have one or two traces of my written disappointment I extended to friends at home, foretelling rapid inflation. And now before going into the argument, let me tearfully alarm that Liberia is on the brink of another avoidable economic depredation that will impose lasting negative impacts on the present government and Liberia hereafter, if the population of the $500 is increased in the economy.

The Merits and Demerits of Big Monetary Denominations

In the hunt to expand the basis of my view, I consulted a number of materials I referenced in the letter to prop my assertions where necessary. As a way of beginning, what went wrong with $100 denominations being the highest single notes of legal tender in the country? Why replace it with $500 notes? What was the logic put forth by CBL to you, our noble legislature, that justified the approval to legalize and infuse $500 denominations in the Liberian economy? What were the advantages and disadvantages explained? And on your part, how did the committe(s) on Banking and Finance peruse through the pages of the document requesting your approval to print the said banknotes, to dutifully critique claimed justifications and decide? Where little needful protocols are breached, or are liberally run through for formality, the true intent of dark motives are easily achieved. Thus I humbly petition you to see the skull and crossbones on the placard to avoid the reiteration of past faults as honorable members of the joint Chambers.

I want to observe that the demerits of high banknotes in the economy outlist their merits. Henry Boyo agrees that to him, the sole usefulness of high currency denominations is the ease of moving and traveling with huge amounts of money at a time, and hiding the same for safety in a place of convenience outside the bank. He justifies that this is commendable in situations where bank customers may worry over the security of their deposits as relative to concerns whether the banks will comply to facilitate withdrawals at the timely requests of depositors. Meanwhile, I want to stand with common view, that high note currencies may be encouraged in countries where inflation, gravely intensifies as government’s efforts to control such are repelled by market forces. In this category of circumstances, usually the first two or three smallest single unit banknotes,  eg. $5, $10 and $20, may be rendered incompetent to afford prices in the market due to intensive inflation. This would put forth a clarion call to subscribe to high banknotes to proffer a relatively parallel relief instead of moving with money bags to buy trifles.

However, big note currencies are obviously the incentives of inflation. They  erode the status of governmen’s struggle to sustain or regain control over market prices. Their weaknesses are hideous and undermining. Henry Boyo still aligns with this in the Nigerian context, that high banknotes attract inflation and the soaring of prices in the economy. He asserts that “You could buy four new car tyres, for example, with the N20 note and feed a small size family for a week! The exchange rate of naira against the dollars at that time was about N1 = $1. The introduction of higher denominations of N50, N100, N200 and N500 has closely followed the history of naira depreciation against the dollars”. Boyo’s article was written in September, 2005. By that time, the rate was about N100 = $1. He wrote to challenge Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) push to print N1,000 bank notes. Despite the outcry of several well meaning Nigerians and civil society groups, CBN was shielded by legislative approval to print the N1,000 notes. And presently, naira is exchanged to dollars at the rate of N390 = $1. That is about 290% inflation in fifteen years. This rate is even lower, since the federal authorities have a monetary policy in place that suppresses the super activeness of foreign currencies in Nigeria, unlike in Liberia where the opposite is the case.

It is very important to reveal this further, to the Joint Chambers, that following the ascension of president Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to power in 2014, a Whistle Blower Policy was introduced. This policy entreats that anyone aiding government with tip-off of stolen money will receive at least 5% of whatever amount of money recovered by the government based on the intelligence shared. Shortly after the policy was established, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) started making stagnant discovery of physical lucre – millions and billions of naira in hiding places such as private residences, uncompleted buildings, large holes, etc. Dubious characters mainly from public parastatals could not bank the money in order to conceal their financial records. And it is not surprising to note that the amounts uncovered were dominantly camouflaged in N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

According to Boyo, some of the trends that unite aggressions to war against national economy on the platform of high banknotes are paraphrase as follows:

  1. Cash Dependency. Progressive nations are far implementing cashless policies which help to decimate financial improprieties as state’s agents may monitor citizen’s financial activities with ease. In such societies, banks and other private organizations which provide financial services to citizens are supervised by Central Banks. On the contrary, in our country, with the $500 notes, we become independent of the banking sector as we can afford to comfortably harbor fortunes in our private savings. By so doing, we lose the culture of proper saving which hampers the ‘climate of investment in the country’.
  2. Criminal Facilitation. Inflated banknotes like $500 is an aggravator of fiscal corruption in its ramifications of fiscal forgery, figure inflation, underreported income, money laundering, goods smuggling, human trafficking, illegal mining, physical robbery and tax invasion. This is because culprits may gain millions of dollars at a sole strive to purloin. In a paper titled “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”, Peter Sands and others present that “Our proposal is to eliminate high denomination, high value currency notes, such as the €500 notes, the $100 bill, the CHF1,000 note and the £50 note”. They speak on, “Such notes are the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and relative ease with which they can be transported and moved”. They finally reveal that tax invasion and terrorist financing are all associated with high denomination notes. I would include illegal hard drugs dealings on the lists.
  3. Lucrative for Forgery Syndicates. With the advancement of technology, impossibility is becoming obsolete. Forgery machines have advanced. And forgers beating the system will relentlessly target duplicating the highest single banknotes as their primary interests. And such criminal breakthrough will forcefully deteriorate the inflation situation the more. It will barely take them stress and resources before they generate millions of dollars to infiltrate the market – creating persistent surmise, and doubt while killing businesses and undermining the economy as a result of losses.
  4. Unreconcilable Difference in the Economy. The use of $500 notes is not inclusive in the Liberian economy. For instance, sellers of petty goods may hardly accept to change $500 for an item of $10 bought. This is because they may not be able to sell $500 on daily basis. And besides, even if they have $490 for change, they are usually unwilling to let it out as they expect more customers who may also demand change in return. Having $500 bill and boarding a taxi for a $20 distance and anticipating $480 change from the driver is a practical challenge we also experience daily. Intending to offer a friend out of a $500 single note is equally worrisome. Often time marketers are unwilling to breakdown $500 notes without tangible patronage. The weight is certainly graver on remote communities. However, in all these instances, $100 note is far preferable. It is closer to the grassroots’ economic strength and encourages an inclusive economy. Thus $500 denominations in a country which inflation rate, like ours, is not that bad, has placed stress and constraints in certain sectors of economy.

Historical Analysis of the Liberian Dollar’s Stages of Inflation: Why $500 Note is a Bad News for the Liberian Economy

The history of the Liberian dollar struggles started as far back as 1847 when the nation was birthed. According to finding from Wikipedia, Liberia has issued and modified its currency recurrently between 1847 and 1906. “In 1847 and 1862, copper 1 and 2 cents coins were issued and were the only coins until 1896, when a full coinage consisting of 1, 2, 10, 25 and 50 cents coins were introduced. The last issues were made in 1906”. Meanwhile, the same source has indicated that “The Treasury Department issued notes between 1857 and 1880 in denominations of 10, 50 cents, 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 dollars. There seems to be an economic lesson was learned after the printing of various dollar notes (higher banknotes) between 1857 – 1880. Thus about 16 years later in 1906, the Treasury Department recanted its mistake by refraining from the reissuance of dollar notes. Also during the coin minting of 1960 and 1961, the dollar notes did not resurface. The Liberian currency was pegged to the US dollars at one time, and to the British West African pound at another time. Within a period of 21 years, according to my findings, Liberia did not mint or print new money until 1982, when $5 coins – usually referred to as Seven Corners, were minted during the Samuel K. Doe military administration. This followed the bloody coup in April 1980. Though with great advantages, Seven Corners had its own weak imprint on the Liberian economy. It is the mother of modern Liberia’s high denomination legal tenders regime with its associated swift inflation history. The $5 coins were replaced by $5 JJ bank notes  seven years later in 1989. With the infusion of JJ in the economy, the nation was fully set enter a distinct financial era. All the same, former President Charles Taylor replaced the JJ on March 29, 2000, adding 10, 20, 50 and $100 denominations to the traditional $5 JJ note. Still, on October 6, 2016, former president Johnson Sirleaf modified the 2000 currency and introduced $500 notes.

By the extinction of coins and their replacement by bigger paper denominations, Liberia entered the avenue of gross inflation. With 25 and 50 cent banknotes forming the circle of our currency in early Liberia, the local money had equal value with the US dollar. For at least hundred and thirty five years, 1847 – 1982, recorded inflation rate did not reach 100%. This means, for example, before 1982, Liberian dollars were never changed $2 – $1 US. The decline of the local currency in value was ideally sluggish through the first one and the half centuries of our independence. But following the relative political instability through the 1980s, coupled with the minting of Seven Corners,  and replacing it with JJ, by the end of the decade, the new exchange rate became $2 – 1 US. This began a big problem in a small way. The value depletion grew faster through the next decade – the 1990s (the full flexed war era). Nevertheless, in 2001, an online CIA World Factbook had indicated that “From 1940 until December 1997, rates were based on a fixed relationship with the US dollar, beginning in January 1998, rates are market determined by market forces. To emphasize, if this insertion is factual, for 57 years, 1940 – 1997, let me put it this way, rates were negotiated until barely four months after former president Charles Taylor resumed power on August 22, 1997. Thereafter, market forces replaced the role of conscience to determine exchange rates.

Moreover, Mr. Taylor administration’s replacement of JJ in 2000 with the introduction of higher denominations did not leverage the situation of inflation. By the year 2000, the local currency was exchange to US dollars at the rate of $41 – $1 US. At the time he Mr. Taylor sought asylum in Calaba, Cross River state, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on August 11, 2003, the Liberian dollar value stood at about $56.75 – $1 US, which later regained strength the same year at $50 – $1 US according to CBL 2003 reported. By December, 2006, during the first year of Madam Johnson Sirleaf’s presidency, the rate climbed to $59 – $1 US as recorded in CBL’s 2006 annual report.

It is yet uncovered that after the emergence of the $500 banknote in the economy on October 6, 2016, the Liberian dollar’s value fall intensified  to $210.79 – $1 US in October, 2019. Meanwhile, outside the banks, money exchangers round the country bought the US dollar $220 – $1 US. The acceleration scaped daily. Nevertheless, 2019 folded with the appreciation of the Liberian dollar’s value at $186.93 – $1 US as CBL announced a debatable shortage of Liberian dollars in the market. That means two years  (2017 – 2018), after the infusion of $500 notes in the economy, the Liberian dollar’s weight loss was at its worst since since the first civil war ended.

Eg. due to the heat of the civil war through the 90s, from the rate of $2 – $1 US in the late 80s, inflation increased to $41 – $1 US by the year 2000. This was about 1,950% inflation in some ten years. 2001 – 2005, the new rate mounted to $56.50 – $1 US. The five years period under review recorded 15.5% inflation. 2006 – 2016, the growing rate arrived at about $91 – $1 US. That period of ten years saw the total inflation of 61.06%. Still perusing through our inflation history, the time following the printing and infusion of the $500 banknote, October 2016 – October 2019, the new rate entered three digits for the first time. Inflation walloped at $210.79 – $1 US, which was about 131.06% inflation. Let me simplify this as follows:

1990 – 2000 — 10 years = 1,950% inflation (war, relative fall of government).
2001 – 2005 —- 5 years = 15.5% inflation.
2006 – 2016 — 10 years = 61.06% inflation.
2017 – 2019 —- 2 years = 131.66% inflation.

To correct hasty political assumptions that may blame the present government for the Liberian dollar’s fall, the drastic decline began in 2017 after the said currency notes gained its legacy for the economy. Meeting the rate of $90 – $1USD, the infusion occurred October 6, 2016. By December, 2017, the depreciation mounted to $125.16 – $1 US, equating the Liberian dollar  inflation rate to about 39.06% against the US dollar in a single year. This was more than half of the 61.06% inflation recorded over the ten years period before the $500 came about. It was also the worst single year inflation since 1997. Thus the $500 notes had already started manifesting aggressively in the final year of former president Sirleaf’s administration. This is not exonerating today’s regime from anything. It is only focusing on the weight of the $500 banknotes on the economy.

Honorable members of the Joint Chambers, I refused to include or dwell on the present exchange rate since the close of 2019, because I do not trust the legality of the methods used by the Weah government to quench the 2019 sporadic growing inflation of the Liberian dollar. And I see the gesture as a time bomb if nothing is done.

The Previous Motives Behind the $500 Notes

While it is impossible to enter the minds of former political kingmakers that worked out the introduction of $500 notes, to determine their real motives, I have assessed and analyzed prevailing circumstances that exist before and after the deal was solidified to suggest dubious intents. My observations are as follows:

  1. Firstly, the foremost noticeable fact is the delay to modified and print new money. The Johnson Sirleaf administration governed for twelve years, 2006 – 2018. But the move to modify old dollar notes and introduce new ones of that magnitude was delayed until one year four months away from the climax of its activities. Usually market forces are stirred when new currency is introduced. In a loose economy like ours, where government has no price control, one government introducing new money and shortly handling power to another is disastrous. Per my observation, the inflation of the Liberian dollar closely aligns with two factors: 1. Change of government. 2. Change of currency (Introduction of new currency). Thus to modify and introduce new currency and subsequently change government in an insignificant timespan speaks volume. The hierarchies knew what would follow. They did it late to save the image of their regime. Thus It seems an attempt to demoralise the monetary policies of latter regime and induce praises for the former in the face of inflation and economic inconsistency. As the new government took office and began readjusting to meet with realities, inflation of prices simultaneously hack. This is the practical truth left out by professional financial language which focuses on low foreign capital inflow.
  2. Secondly, the alleged disappearance of $16b has left critical thinkers with a mystery. For the fact that the Johnson Sirleaf government printed the money late during its reign, authorities were unable to, as due time demands, complete and transfer of the total amount to CBL, and arrange the physical cash in its ideal vaults before the Weah administration could take over. New goverment should not meet printed $16b at Freeport. It should be in CBL’s respective vaults. The inference is, if the claim is true, the act of embezzlement as it relates to the missing $16b happened between two governments within a transitional timeframe. This has pixilated the clear face of the regime at fault with obscurity. It also means such financial crime could be staged through a dual regime mingling. And this further questions the motive behind the late printing of money with the $500 notes’ involvement.
  3. Thirdly, the $6b unaccounted for by CBL’s authorities have depicted another picture of the dark dealings surrounding the $500 notes. The plan was most likely preconceived, evoking the option of $500 notes as leverage to make the process durable. Now that political actors nearly exhausted their twelve years of service to Liberia, they seemed to long for personal settlements. Meanwhile, $100 banknotes being the highest legal tender would hinder the ambition. One could not abscond with $6b in $100 notes with ease. We need five times the space of $500 single note to hide $500 separate notes. Therefore, the devisers opted for the $500 notes as an easy route. And the illegal $6b was shared and suffused in the economy without due diligence to CBL’s procedures, sparking the about 131.66% inflation we saw in just two years time. This authenticates my opinion, that the $500 notes are the present day driving force of the Liberian dollar heightened inflation and price hack. In fact, both the alleged $16b and the $6b accounted for are linked to the fault of the introduction of the $500 notes by former administration. Take note that this same kind of financial impropriety may recur in the new request. Since the motive behind the $500 note was marred with vices, its existence remains threatening to the Liberian economy.

Recommendations

  1. Rethink the Printing of $4b in $500 Banknotes. The $500 note itself is not the problem, but the behaviors that associate with it. If any reprinting of money must be done, it should be in smaller notes of all denominations below $500 notes. However, if my memory can serve me well, in 2018 the present government conducted a mob-up exercise to lick up excess liquidity of Liberian dollars from the market to control inflation. The total of $25m US was expended to implement the plan. Therefore, if we experience shortage of local currency today, it simply means the exercise was successful, but overdone. And the advisable procedure is for CBL to redisburse the market the absorbed excess Liberian dollars during the mob-up exercise, since the requested $4b is, let’s say, equivalent to the value of the $25m US used in the mob-up exercise.

I want to humbly remind the honorable members of our able legislature, that inflation is vastly implicatory. It should not be underrated. The political tension presently in Venezuela began with inflation. In fact, anger in the hearts of citizens usually align with inflation in the nation. It threatens political and economic instability. If not for the claimed shortage of Liberian dollars in the economy, by now, based on the speed of 2019, we were changing more that $300 – $1 US. And I perceive that if CBL does not put its house in order, a forceful inflation will bounce back if the requested $4b dollars are sunk in the economy again.

All the same, political detractors will take advantage of citizens through that to stir them against governance, organizing one protests after the other. This will kill our economy the more. Bitterness will arise where the people may hardly afford their daily needs following stressful hours of toiling. Terror and crimes will increase if students drop out of school and small businesses collapse as inflation intensifies. Home violence will follow suit due to increased intensity of survival struggles for loss of jobs. I mean there could be grave political implications. This fear has compelled me to address this letter to you, honorable legislators, that you may use  your legislative prowess to prevent hyperinflation and possible recession. With the level of decline we saw last year, 2019, $500 presence in the economy is causing greater harm. For increasing its population is increasing affliction. The plan needs to be abolished to aid economic relief.

  1. Printing of Money must be Avoided until CBL comes up with clear Policy that will Guide Forex Exchange in the Country. We are a country. But in many respects, we seem not to be a country because of our choice to live without principles. We are victimized by our delinquency. And one of such instance is the unscrupulous forex exchange market in Liberia. We have to take note that Liberia is not the destination of US dollars. The US dollars found in Liberia are on transit. Many foreign business owners are hunters of the US dollar out of the country. This is because unlike the Liberian dollar, you hardly find any country in West Africa which local currency is pegged to the US dollar. On the other hand, the Liberian dollar is weightier than most of West African local currencies. These two facts make Liberia a business hub of our West African neighbors, Indians, Lebanese, Chinese, etc. in hunt of US dollars. This is why the nation suffers its repeated scarcity, fueling inflation. They acquire the US dollar and take it home to sell it and make hugh profits in their local currencies. They gain more than what they would have achieved had they done business at home. This is why it is not uneasy to see foreigners buying US everywhere in the country. In this light, Liberia bently struggles with capital flight. And in order for CBL to control this and encourage a growing value of the Liberian dollar, it needs to collaborate with Finance Ministry to reverse the present scope of the forex exchange market. Example, selling and buying of US dollars must be restricted to CBL, commercial banks and few well registered exchange bureaux with decent offices. 100% of those bureaux must be Liberian owned and run. Those selling or buying $499 US and below must do business with registered bureaus outside the bank. Others selling or buying $500 – $1500 US must patronise commercial banks. In like manner, customers longing to buy bigger amounts above $1500 US must visit CBL. All the same, exchange outside Monrovia must have its suitable policy. All transactions that involve the equivalence of $50 US and above whether selling or buying must be done with immigration documents such as voter/citizen ID Cards, passports, residence permit, etc. for both citizens and foreigners. And all those selling or buying at least $500 must provide details of their sources of income, backed by latest tax clearances, and payment receipts of  electricity and water bills. This initiative must be closely monitored and supervised by CBL at government’s approved exchange rate. No shop and store must exchange money. This will help to delay capital flight and control inflation in a nation with low foreign capital inflow. It would also fight tax invasion and minimally correct habitual breaching of immigration protocols in addition to other merits. Until such policy is imbibed, I appeal to your indulgence to restrain CBL from printing additional banknotes of any denominations. Or else, the Liberian dollar will continue to be oppressed in its homeland. Let us not be known as a nation which does not love its citizens and its money.
  2. Commerce Ministry must be Pushed to Resurrect. It must stand to the task. It is the only influence that government has on the market in that it negotiates and keeps prices of goods in the reach of citizens. The ministry performed relatively well during the regime of for president Charles Taylor. But since then, it exists for formality. Where there are no regulations in the market, citizens are bound to suffer needless inflation because most sellers are desperate to make it swiftly by taking advantage of a dead system. Liberians are avoidably paying exorbitant prices for the reluctance of Ministry of Commerce to deliver it services to the nation. Please use your prestigious office with its accompanying constitutional power to chastise that government department to resume its responsibilities and become the conscience of the market. This was what helped to slowdown the growth rate of inflation within the range of 15.5% during the five years period of Mr. Taylor’s government.
  3. The Legality of the Existing $500 Notes must be Abrogated. Several financial challenges and crimes are associated with it. Its overwhelming weight suffocates and replaces the $100 note which was one time celebrated as the chief among equals. The $500 note is artificial inflation. And in no time, market forces have readjusted to suit the invention. Eg. you have just two $50 in in $100 note, while in $500 note, there are ten $50. Likewise, you have five $20 in $100 note, but in $500 note, you have twenty five $20. While $100 note contains ten $10, $500 note entails fifty $10. Lastly, there are only twenty $5 in $100 note, but there are hundred $5 in $500 note. The gaps have affected rotational corporations of smaller notes with the $500 note. By reasoning, this is inflation in itself. It serves as hindrance to small businesses and underprivileged households both in urban and rural Liberia. Thus when the $500 note is withdrawn from the economy, it will render relief to suppressed smaller banknotes to effectively resume their friendly role of network for an inclusive economic environment.

Another big weakness of the $500 note is its shared design with the $10 note. Marketers and customers alike routinely decry mistaking $500 for $10. Some give out $500 for $10 or $1500 for $30 change as the case may be. That could ruin small businesses and take marketers running their businesses on loans to prison. On the other hand, criminals may take advantage of the $500 note’s common design with the $10 note, to bury $10 notes in huge bundles of $500 bills to easily trick people in business transaction. Or the vice-visa could be done depending on the criminal’s motive.

Finally on this segment, the $500 note will outlive smaller denominations since it receives more care by money holders due to the high esteem ascribed to it. That means a time is closeby, when we will be faced with too much bigger denominations in the market, with the massive population depletion of smaller denominations. Beside the present battle of inflation we are now fighting, this is the future battle of inflation that is awaiting us if we do not fix it now.

  1. Working with International Advisers and Technical Support Groups Requires Patriotic Consciousness. Several Western and African researchers express caution over the so-called interventions of Western nations and organizations in vulnerable countries like Liberia. Since last year, I have been very skeptical about USAID’s presence at CBL as adviser and “inducer of miracle seeds”. What followed was the abrupt abolishment of president Weah’s national scholarship plan, which affected thousands of students and families around the country. I believe as well that the decision to print $4b all in $500 notes instead of smaller bills, was cross-evaluated and ill-advised by the international consultants. And it is perceived that the sole argument for opting for $500 notes at this time of our economy, is that Liberia lacks funding to print and transport smaller banknotes into the country. They will insist that the said notes are ideal to undercut costs. But there is more to this. They have the language to convince and the money to help. We have the menaces and need their expertise and goodwil. We are thus humbled to submit to their conditions. However, often time, they come to tease and entice us with money into deeper suffering, but never help. Through policies, they first create progress neutralisers and money suckers before they sign the first dollar to help. Advisors always have interests. Be aware of traps! Do not take every advice. Learn to say no. Some shortcuts are long ways in disguise.
  2. There is a Need of a New Legislation. Patriotism demands that you capitalize on lessons earned from the fiscal irregularities that happened shortly before, during, and after the transitional period between the Sirleaf and Weah political eras, to act as legislators. The nation needs a measure to prevent recurrence. Any government modifying or printing new currency must undertake and complete the project fully, at least two years before new government queues in. Or if you are reluctant, we could see $1,000 banknotes in the Liberian economy 6 months before this regime hands over power, with a bulk of the new money left with printers in Europe to be brought in by subsequent administration, making the past vices obvious.

Conclusion

I am honored to address you, August Body,  relating to your moral minds, the hidden secrets of the inflation that Liberia faces today and the added economic danger that awaits us if the $4b are printed as proposed. It is your time of service to our beloved country in that capacity. The constitution demands your roles because the president is not enough to singlehandedly do all the deliveries of democracy. One of my Nigerian friends always told me, 1% of 99 people’s idea is greater than 99% of 1 person’s idea. In my description, the relationship that exists between the Legislature and the Executive is the boiling point that builds nations. The Executive (president) is the well-wisher while the Legislature is the analyst of the president’s wishes to weigh in or not. Though the Executive is not always at fault in the area of the leadership decisions that we may suffer. The existing $500 in the Liberian economy is already causing havoc. And additional notes of that category will do worse. Bid CBL to refrain for an alternative to safe the future of the Liberian economy.

In my final words, let me express that, when we are afraid to die for the nation, we die with the nation. Inflation is affliction.

Thank you.

The Author:
Alphonsus Tayee Kamahnoon, BA, BTh, BRel, MATDS is a Liberian citizen. He is a seasoned scholar in Theology and Development Studies. He is a university lecturer with vast expertise in Biblical Languages, research and academic writing. As a critical thinker, he assesses the Liberian way of life and closely monitors developing news in Liberia, to analyze and see the future of the country through the telescope of reasoning, then thinks to proffer solutions where need be. He can be reached via email: [email protected]

Filed to: The Executive Mansion, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, and Central Bank of Liberia.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Alphonsus Kamahnoo,

    Thanks for reminding Liberians that our International Partners might not be what they claim to represent. In my article, I stated that the USAID, for example, is an agent of Liberia’s competitor, (I.e., America), therefore, Liberia should not accept the view that the USAID is our adviser.

    “With International Advisers and Technical Support Groups Requires Patriotic Consciousness.”

    You stated that “Several Western and African researchers express caution over the so-called interventions of Western nations and organizations in vulnerable countries like Liberia. Since last year, I have been very skeptical about USAID’s presence at CBL as adviser and “inducer of miracle seeds”. What followed was the abrupt abolishment of president Weah’s national scholarship plan, which affected thousands of students and families around the country. I believe as well that the decision to print $4b all in $500 notes instead of smaller bills, was cross-evaluated and ill-advised by the international consultants. And it is perceived that the sole argument for opting for $500 notes at this time of our economy, is that Liberia lacks funding to print and transport smaller banknotes into the country. They will insist that the said notes are ideal to undercut costs. But there is more to this. They have the language to convince and the money to help. We have the menaces and need their expertise and goodwil. We are thus humbled to submit to their conditions. However, often time, they come to tease and entice us with money into deeper suffering, but never help. Through policies, they first create progress neutralisers and money suckers before they sign the first dollar to help. Advisors always have interests. Be aware of traps! Do not take every advice. Learn to say no. Some shortcuts are long ways in disguise.”

    Thanks

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