CBL Commences Currency Exchange Exercise -Governor Tarlue Discloses Procedures, Processes

MONROVIA – The Central Bank of Liberia has announced the commencement of its currency exchange exercise.

In a statement delivered during the formal ceremony yesterday, October 5, 2022, the Central Bank’s Executive Governor, J. Aloysius Tarlue said beginning today, Thursday, October 6, 2022, process would begin, starting with the L$20 and L$50 denomination.

“As at today, the Bank has received a total of L$1.9935 billion of the L$50 and L$20 denominations,” he said. “This batch came between September 4 and September 19, 2022. The Bank has completed the quality control of these banknotes in line with CBL’s specifications. The coins are expected in the country before the end of October 2022.”

Mr. Tarlue disclosed that the CBL would be receiving a total of L$34,533,500,000.00, including the initial L$8,000,000,000.00 of the new banknotes that was brought in between November 2021 and February 2022 and a total of L$462,900,000.00 coins by the end of 2022.

He said that would comprise all the existing denominations, including the L$1,000 denomination, which is being introduced for the first time. The remaining amount will be brought into the country in 2024. For purpose of clarity, no banknotes or coins will be brought into the country in 2023 but noted that the exchange exercise will continue with the banknotes and coins that will be in the country.

The CBL Chief said there was no need to rush, adding, “All existing banknotes in circulation will be exchanged at their full value without any discount in value.”

He said the Central Bank is mindful about giving specific deadline at this time, to avoid unnecessary rush and unintended consequences that could undermine the exchange process. As such, the Bank will decide on the duration of the exchange exercise as the exercise progresses and we have a better appreciation of the operational challenges.

 “We want to avoid the mistakes of the other countries in rushing the exercise,” he said.

 In keeping with the mandate of the National Legislature, the exchange exercise will be solely conducted through the commercial banks and other regulated financial institutions, in collaboration with the commercial banks, he said further.

“As agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we signed in February, we expect the commercial banks to adhere to their obligations under the MoU, including catering to non-account holders, which comprise mainly ordinary Liberians through special windows.”

Considering the challenges faced by the commercial banks and limited branch network across the country, the CBL said it is working on a strategy to decentralize the exchange exercise through its cash hub in Gbarnga, Bong County and other approved facilities under the direct control and supervision of the Bank, to ensure that all parts of the country are covered.

In addition to ensuring the timely delivery of the new currency in the country, the CBL has also been working to put in place the necessary logistical and operational capacities, to ensure the smooth implementation of the exchange exercise.

“As we commence this exercise, we urge the public, the commercial banks, the business community, and all key stakeholders to work with the Bank to ensure a smooth and successful exercise,” Mr. Tarlue said.

“The CBL alone cannot do it; we need the support of everyone. This is the first time that the country is undertaking such a huge national initiative. Therefore, it is important that we take due care to protect the integrity of the process.”

He expressed gratitude to the President Weah and the 54th National Legislature for their support in this process.

The CBL Executive thanked Liberia’s external partners, notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the US Embassy, for their financial, technical, and moral support in this process.

“We are particularly grateful to Kroll & Associates from the UK, who worked with the Bank throughout this process, providing technical assistance to the Bank, with funding from USAID,” he said.

He also thanked the Liberian people for their patience and cooperation with the Bank, especially with the constraints imposed by the scarcity of change in the economy.

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