Legislature to Clamp Down on Hoarding of Liberian Dollars -Speaker Calls for Tougher Laws; Upon Nat’l Legislature 4th Sitting

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As the country faces acute shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes on the market, rendering many customers nearly incapable of transacting with banks in the local currency, the Speaker of the 54th Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, on the occasion of the constitutional obligation of the Legislature  4th Sitting, has called on his colleagues to institute serious action-oriented laws to address the evil network of hoarding which he believes is one of root causes of the shortage of the LD in circulation.

Drawing conclusions from the past, Dr. Chambers noted how one Mr. Yasuo Hamanaka of Sumitomo Corporation in Japan was imprisoned for seven years in the 1990s for hoarding that led to $2.6 billion in losses in the Copper Market.

He said, in the United States, in 1933, owning more than $100 worth of gold bullion, coins, or certificates became a criminal act called hoarding, and that hoarding in gold bullion became illegal again in the U.S. in 1974.

“The measures instituted by the United States in 1933 and 1974 are worth copying.  Those examples can create sound conditions of action-oriented frameworks, knowing that hoarding, whether hoarding of commodities or hoarding of currency, can cause tragedies and spark up painful economic instability. It can create a cycle of speculation, inflation and self-fulfilling prophecies,” Speaker Chambers noted.

“With that said, there is a compelling need to institute serious action-oriented frameworks or laws to address the evil network of hoarding. Mr. Yasuo Hamanaka of Sumitomo Corporation in Japan was imprisoned for seven years in the 1990s for hoarding that led to $2.6 billion in losses in the Copper Market,” Speaker Chambers recalled.

The House Speaker furthered that if the threat of hoarding persists, be it currency hoarding or commodity hoarding, the cruel face of a “state within a state” will creep in, inclusive of forces which could function or operate with manipulative impunity, thereby undermining the country.

The call by the House Speaker comes against the background of recent calls by the Executive branch of government to the legislature to allow the printing of additional banknotes because the recently printed LD4 billion was insufficient to stabilize the economy.

Also speaking on the scarcity of the Liberian dollar banknotes, Speaker Chambers reasoned that, with the inconvenience suffered regarding currency shortage, the Legislature must now put its focus in the direction of providing the requisite oversight, so as to forestall any recurrence.

“Our Constitution empowers us to authorize the issuance of currency and mint coins, amongst other things. We must be thankful to the crafters of our Constitution for such brilliance. Like the US Constitution, Article 1 section 8, which permits Congress to coin money and regulate its value, ours, likewise, in Article 34(d) states, “The Legislature shall have the power to levy taxes, duties, imposts, excise and other revenues, to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins…” Speaker Chambers reasoned.

Speaking further, Dr. Chambers enjoined his colleague legislators that their focus, as they resume their official duties, should be geared towards engaging in meaningful investments that benefit the people and the state, as opposed to indulging in narcissistic investment as was in the past.

In this regards, Dr. Chambers called for the revisiting of some of the concession agreements, while optimizing gains from the various sectors. He also requested of his colleagues to prepare and enact laws in line with best practice, as well as work with various institutions and nations to copy experiences for positive economic gains.

Recapping on some of the achievements of the 54th Legislature, Speaker Chambers disclosed that, out of a total of 50 Bills introduced in the House, 29 Bills were passed; while a total of 19 Executive Bills were also passed.

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