Blaming 53rd National Legislature
-For Depreciating Liberian Dollar
Some people, including Liberians, have begun shifting blames on members of the outgoing 53rd National Legislature for having approved through a bill the printing of new bank notes during the era of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the possible cause of the continuing rise and depreciation of the Liberian dollar on the exchange rate with the U.S dollar.At the time the most prominent dissenting view to the bill, Ex-Hon. Edward Forh of the CDC, who was representing District #16 in New Kru town, a position now occupied by Hon. Dixon Seboe, stated that printing new bank notes on the flimsy reasons of withdrawing mutilated noted will not be in the interest of the nation.
He was almost booed by his colleagues who were eager to ensure that the bill to print the new bank notes for reasons of withdrawing mutilated Liberian dollars from the market as the printing was justified by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
Accusing fingers are also pointed at the Central bank, in the views of some critics, for failure to disclose the exact amount that was printed, failure to withdraw all the old bank notes within a specified time-frame, as it is customary done when introducing a new bank notes as legal tender. There are also those who are blaming Ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, considering that many people think that she maintained complete control on members of the lower House with the exception of Hon. Bhofal Chambers.
In his long awaited speech to the nation on the state of the economy on Monday, President George Manneh Weah stated that it is a difficult microeconomic problem, adding that his government is working to find longstanding solution through its Economic Management Team (EMT) and in close collaboration with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
“The government will announce a series of monetary and fiscal measures that we believe should help reverse the decline in the value of the Liberian dollar,” President Weah declared. He added that the government also intends to engage the minds of the best and the brightest Liberian economists, both at home and abroad and even seek advice and active support from our international partners.
“As a first step in this direction, we have placed emphasis and urgency on the formulation of a comprehensive development strategy that will be supported by a strategic implementation plan. The development strategy, to be known as the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, is nearing completion.
It will very shortly be presented to all stakeholders, including our foreign development partners, the private sector, and the general public, for consultation, input, and buy-in, before being finalized into a strategic implementation plan,” President Weah announced.
President Weah said development strategy and implementation plan will serve as a road-map for the urgent and important next-steps to be taken in giving direction to our economic recovery, and will consist of short-term interventions, medium-term reforms, and long-term restructuring of the Liberian economy.
The Liberian leader said: “I am fully aware that we are faced with a very difficult macroeconomic situation in Liberia. For many decades, we have incurred trade deficits because we import more than we export.”
“We also have an economy based on traditional exports such as iron ore, rubber, coffee, etc., which are shipped to foreign buyers in their raw state, without any value-added propositions which could have also contributed significantly to industrialization and employment.”
“Additionally, the prices and demand for our exports are determined and affected by factors beyond our borders, and are therefore beyond our control. Slumps in the demand for the products which utilize our raw materials will always result in externally-generated shocks to our economy.”
President Weah noted that the situation being faced is not totally unique to Liberia as the world as a whole is facing new economic challenges, mentioning the trade wars between the major manufacturing countries could also reduce demand and place downward pressure on the prices of our major exports.
He said finding lasting solutions to the present macroeconomic challenges will take some time, because nothing less than the structural transformation of the Liberian economy will produce sustainable recovery and growth