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“Do heavy Lifting”, Hon.Tweah Urges Economic Actors

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Monrovia, Liberia - Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr. has urged economic actors such as CBL and Commerce Ministry to do what he termed as “heavy lifting” to ensure that reduction in exchange rate commensurate with prices on basic commodities.

He made the call on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, during the SKY FM talks-how 50-50, as hosted by veteran journalists T-Max Jlateh and Atty. Philip Wesseh.

Min. Tweah stated that the fact that the inflation rate has dropped from 30% to 14%, suggests that the ordinary citizen's economic livelihood is improving. And stressed that intermediary fiscal policies intervention during the peak of Covid-19 and even after which have informed projections like the recent IMF 3.2% growth projection and gives a positive picture of an economic rebound beginning 2021.

Regarding investment, he clarified that several of the pre-Weah's presidency investment companies that came to Liberia were natural resources investments such as iron ore companies like ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) and the Western Cluster and the prevailing conditions on the international market such as a dip in the prices of extractive goods are not favoring similar investments.

On the liquidity challenged in the banking sector, he averred that by 2011, 80% of the local currency was outside of the banking sectors, emphasizing that said phenomenal had existed prior to the Weah's administration, but the bountiful of US dollars masked the demand and need for Liberian dollars for local transactions. He furthered as US dollars 'faced' dried out over the years, Liberian dollars became a viable medium for most transactions, thereby increasing its demand.

He admitted that a confidence crisis erupted because clients over time faced difficulty getting money deposited while stressing that the quantum of money in circulation is short of demand and as such efforts are being made to establish the quantum of money needed to meet demand.

He expressed the need for the printing of a new family of Banknotes to address the monetary shocks, but noted that this transitory action might not be the a permanent solution, but set the stage for confidence restoration in the Banking sector. Liberia's Finance Minister encouraged the use of mobile money and other digital means which he avowed that will take a policy drive shortly to facilitate a walk away from physical cash handling.

However, he dismissed perception about resisting experts’ opinions on how to proceed with the Economy, stating that he is cautious in dealing with suggestions since his experience with the dilemma of entry into the IMF program, despite this orientation and involvement with the IMF.

Also, he explained that the current budget (2020/2021) is put around 570m and will expire June of 2021, adding that the immediate succeeding budget will span for six months (July- December), which will bring Liberia on par with other ECOWAS countries fiscal calendars which span from January to December, as Liberia is the only country in the ECOWAS region with a veering fiscal calendar.

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