Liberia

The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), is expected to release the first batch of coins and other banknote denominations on the market in the middle of September.

The coins are part of a total authorization of L$48.734 billion to be minted and printed in three years — 2021, 2022, and 2024. The other denominations are L$20, L$50, L$500, and L$1,000.

The reintroduction of coins would be the first in Liberia’s postwar history. At various points in the country’s history, coins were issued — starting in 1847 right after independence — and known as copper 1 and 2 cents coins which were used until 1862 and later went through modifications.

Its usage could break down high currency denominations to smaller bits, which discourage undue inflation of prices of goods, as consumers can collect their balance.

Currently, balances in the lower of L$5 and L$10 are highly forthcoming due to the shortage of fiat money in the two mentioned denominations. This means that when customers demand their balance, it is not always available, forcing the customers to leave it or buy what he/she never intended just to extract value from the money left on the table.

On its own, this has added to the undue price increases.

Senior Economic Policy Director Christopher Wallace and Williams Jlopeh, Director on Banking, who spoke on the bank-sponsored radio program, “Money Matters” on ELBC, on August 3, disclosed that the CBL is working on all of the modalities to see how best they can speed up the process.

“We know that the public is concerned about the coming in of coins and the lower denomination, so the next stage is that management is making an effort to work with the shipping companies to see who can bring the money into the country faster because they don’t have courier services.”

The bank, the official said, is eager to see the coming of the additional banknotes and coins. They further revealed that the bank has done all it takes to bring the coins into the country by the end of September 2022.

They, however, said that the issue with printing money in Liberia some years back had lots of missteps, so this time around they are going to follow all of the steps leading to the printing process.

“What CBL is doing is to follow all of the steps leading to the printing of the money and even up to the infusion of the money into the economy,” the officials said.

The bank officials said the new banknotes and coins that are expected in the country very soon are fully documented and, as such, if they happen to leave the employ of the CBL, that system will be in place.

The officials said the storage of the L$5 and L$10 had been further heightened by the increased demand for the smaller denominations due to the growth in the population and expanded scope of economic activities.

It can be recalled that in May 2021, the CBL was authorized by the 54th Legislature to print a new family of banknotes. The Legislature approved the printing and minting of money in three phases, specifically 2021, 2022, and 2024.

The CBL, in December 2021, introduced the new Liberian dollar currency, starting with the L$100 banknote to the tune of four billion Liberian dollars.

The amount, according to the CBL, was meant to boost the economy’s availability of Liberian dollars. The second consignment of four billion Liberian dollars of the new family of L$100 banknotes, the CBL said, was going to be brought into the country during the 1st Quarter of 2022 to commence the gradual replacement of mutilated banknotes.

The introduction of the remaining L$100 banknotes and other denominations including the L$20, L$50, L$500, and L$1,000 banknotes, and the L$5 and L$10 coins is due to take place in the latter half of 2022.

(Liberian Observer)