In the wake of extreme economic hardship facing Liberians, the main opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) says the Legislature must give back the operational independence to the central bank of Liberia (CBL).
The main opposition bloc argues that this will allow the CBL to print Liberian dollar banknotes in line with economic fundamentals and stop using the current approval process negotiations every time the CBL comes seeking approval to print. “Do the honorable thing LEGISLATURE by addressing ambiguities in Part II Count 2, Counts 6B, 6C, and 6O; Part V Count 23 (1 and 2); and Article 34 (D) of the Liberian Constitution and ultimately amend the October 21, 2020 Amended CBL Act to restore CBL to normalcy and alignment with international and regional best practices.”
CPP argues that this should then pave the way for the appointment of competent and professional Liberians with track record in the business of monetary policy design and implementation to sit on the Board and Senior management of the CBL.
CPP recalled that when officials of the CDC Government were actively seeking legislative approval for the printing of additional Liberian dollar banknotes, they promised that this would bring to end, once and for all, this recurring last-quarter nightmare of shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes at the commercial banks and in the market.
The CPP therefore demands that the CDC Government fulfill its promises and urgently put an end to the current exploitative and anomalous economic situation.
The CPP calls on the Government to stop seeking imaginary solutions to the challenges of the Liberian economy and instead focus on predictable actions and systemic changes that will improve the economic fundamentals of the country.
According to CPP, these actions will include, inter alia, growing the productive sectors of the economy, improving service delivery across government, fighting corruption robustly and impartially, im- proving the security climate in the country including vigorously fighting ritualistic killings, supporting Liberian entrepreneurship in critical sectors such as agricultural value addition, and respecting the merit system.
Meanwhile, CPP has noted with serious concern that after the CDC-government conducted a controversial and fraud-laden US$25 million Mop-Up Exercise in 2018, the last quarter of each year since then, has been characterized by a strange scarcity of Liberian dollar banknotes on the market and a corresponding precipitous drop in the Liberian Dollar-US Dollar exchange rate.
It said not surprisingly, this nightmarish scenario has begun to raise its ugly head this year.
“This time around, it is the refusal of the government through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to supply needed Liberian dollars, which has led to a complete shortage of Liberian dollars on the market.”
CPP terms it as not only counterproductive to the economic growth desperately needed, but it is broad daylight hardship being imposed on the people of Liberia by the CDC-Led Government.
It frowned on government for sitting idly with such insensitivity to the Liberian people when prices of food, clothing and other essential commodities are still high while the Liberian dollar is appreciating.
“Our recent check on the CBL website shows that monthly data on inflation since June ending 2021 is yet to be published by the CBL.”
The party urged CBL to wake up and not allow itself to be a puppet in the hands of politicians seeking their personal welfare over the Liberian people.
CPP said one significant factor explaining this shortage of the Liberian dollar on the market during the last quarter of the year is the deliberate and intentional failure of the CBL to service Liberian dollar withdrawal demands of the commercial banks that are obligated to hold Liberian dollar current accounts with the CBL.
It mentioned that the failure of the government to meet its commitments to the commercial banks consequently translates to the growing lack of confidence in the Liberian banking sector by the public.
CPP expressed surprise to hear the Minister of Finance speak sof achieving single-digit inflation in an environment of induced appreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar.
“This, accompanied by the rapid eroding of consumer purchasing power, is simply a sophisticated and well orchestrated deception taking place before our very eyes.”
CPP remined President George Weah that the Liberian people deserve better living conditions than what they are now experiencing after all his campaign promises.
“Regardless of how economic data and the facts are twisted, the average Liberian knows what it means to be hungry and deprived. The people in basic terms, do not need anyone to tell them that as the local currency in which they trade and their salaries are paid appreciates, the prices of food items (especially their staple, rice), gasoline, transportation fares, school tuitions and fees, among others, are expected to reduce. Politics and economics are immiscible. Unfortunately, while our people suffer the excruciating effects of this economic contradiction, some officials and apologists of the CDC government are rather celebrating the suffering of the Liberian people. How can they claim that they are doing a good job when our people are crying this much?”