GANTA, Nimba – As Liberia strives for solutions to tackle the current economic crisis within the country, Rep. Jeremiah Koung of Nimba’s first district is suggesting that the country print new banknotes.
The co-chair on the Ways, Means, and Finance Committee at the House of Representatives said the new notes should have “very high security features” to serve as a first step in rescuing the economy. The country is currently in the middle of a rapidly increasing inflation rate and a Liberian dollar that is quickly deteriorating in value against the U.S. dollar.
The lawmaker called for an investment in printing notes that possess all of the necessary security features similar to the notes that he said were printed during the Charles Taylor-led government, which he said made counterfeiting difficult.
“Why are they not duplicating Ghanaian money to be floating in the market? It’s because the security feature is high. Why are people not duplicating the CFA? It’s because the security feature is more,” he said. “So, we need to pay more money to print a higher quality money that has a very high security feature.”
Koung noted that if investments are made to print higher quality banknotes, it would make it more expensive for people to duplicate. “And as a result, if you attempted duplicating it, it would be easy to identify, like in the case of the United States dollars,” he added.
Koung further said if the new notes are printed, a time limit should be set forth to retrieve the current notes that are in circulation.
“Everyone who got [old] Liberian dollars in their [houses] should change it, and if you don’t, it becomes an expired money,” he said. “[For] those people who have it stocked in their houses and think they brought containers of money and want to change it, it will be left in their rooms and become expired money.”
Koung said there is a need for the three branches of government to sit together to determine how the economic situation can be resolved as soon as possible. He said the government should also invite financial experts who can help with policies, which will bring about a possible solution to the nation’s economic “emergency.”
“Going to the past as to who caused the problem is a waste of the people’s time—we shouldn’t keep arguing around here on who should take the blame or who shouldn’t take the blame,” he said. “What I think, as a government, we don’t need to focus on who caused the problem now. We need to solve the problem, then before we can look at who caused it; and maybe start to go after them. What we need to do now is to rescue the economy; this issue is an emergency, and we need to treat it as an emergency.”
During the 53rd National Legislature, Koung proposed a bill seeking to establish a single currency in the country—the Liberia dollars. He proposed that all foreign transactions be done only at the level of the Central Bank and other approved commercial banks. Koung said the bill is still being reviewed in the legislature.
Featured photo by Augustine Dahn/Voice of Gompa