The opposition Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) has taken a swipe on the government’s management of the economy, in the wake for what it called the refusal of the government through the Central Bank of Liberia(CBL) to supply needed Liberian dollars which has led to a complete shortage of the Liberian dollar on the market, terming it not only as counterproductive to the economic growth desperately needed, but it is broad daylight hardship being imposed on the people of Liberia by the CDC led government.
In a present statement issued by the Executive Committee, the party said it was baffled how can the government sit idly with such insensitivity to the Liberian people when prices of food, clothing and other essential commodities are still high while the Liberian dollar is appreciating adding that its recent check on the CBL website shows that monthly data on inflation since June 2021 is yet to be published by the apex bank. It called on the CBL to wake up and not allow itself to be a puppet in the hands of politicians seeking their personal welfare over the Liberian people.
“One significant factor explaining this shortage of the Liberian dollar on the market during the last quarter of the year is the deliberate and intentional failure of the CBL to service Liberian dollar withdrawal demands of the commercial banks that are obligated to hold Liberian dollar current accounts with the CBL. This gross failure of the government to meet its commitments to the commercial banks consequently translates to the growing lack of confidence in the Liberian banking sector by the public”, the party said.
The party said it is quite surprising to hear the Minister of Finance speak of achieving single-digit inflation in an environment of induced appreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar and added that the prevailing situation accompanied by the rapid eroding of consumer purchasing power is simply a sophisticated and well-orchestrated deception taking place before people’s very eyes.
“Mr. President, the Liberian people deserve better living conditions than what they are now experiencing after all your campaign promises; regardless of how economic data and the facts are twisted, the average Liberian knows what it means to be hungry and deprived. The people in basic terms, do not need anyone to tell them that as the local currency in which they trade and their salaries are paid appreciates, the prices of food items (especially their staple, rice), gasoline, transportation fares, school tuitions and fees, among others, are expected to reduce. Politics and economics are immiscible. Unfortunately, while our people suffer the excruciating effects of this economic contradiction, some officials and apologists of the CDC government are rather celebrating the suffering of the Liberian people. How can they claim that they are doing a good job when our people are crying this much?”
The opposition bloc said that it can be recalled that when officials of the CDC Government were actively seeking legislative approval for the printing of additional Liberian dollar banknotes, they promised that this would bring to end, once and for all, this recurring last-quarter nightmare of shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes at the commercial banks and in the market. The party said the Legislature must give back the operational independence to the CBL that allows the CBL to print Liberian- dollar banknotes in line with economic fundamentals and stop using the current approval process negotiations every time the CBL comes seeking approval to print.
“Do the honorable thing LEGISLATURE by addressing ambiguities in Part II Count 2, Counts 6B, 6C, and 6O; Part V Count 23 (1 and 2); and Article 34 (D) of the Liberian Constitution and ultimately amend the October 21, 2020 Amended CBL Act to restore CBL to normalcy and alignment with international and regional best practices. This should then pave the way for the appointment of competent and professional Liberians with a track record in the business of monetary policy design and implementation to sit on the Board and senior management of the CBL”, the party said.
The CPP said it is therefore demanding that the CDC Government fulfill its promises and urgently put an end to what it called the exploitative and anomalous economic situation. It also called on the Government to stop seeking imaginary solutions to the challenges of the Liberian economy and instead focus on predictable actions and systemic changes that will improve the economic fundamentals of the country. It said these actions will include, inter alia, growing the productive sectors of the economy, improving service delivery across government, fighting corruption robustly and impartially, improving the security climate in the country including vigorously fighting ritualistic killings, supporting Liberian entrepreneurship in critical sectors such as agricultural value addition, and respecting the merit system.
The press release also took time to delve into the alleged refusal of the government to grant landing rights to a helicopter belonging to the political leader of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) Dr. Daniel E. Cassell despite satisfying all of the requirements prescribed by the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA). “The refusal infringes on the rights of Dr. Cassell and is clearly based on political grounds; it demonstrates how far this government is prepared to go to suppress the opposition. We therefore call on the government to immediately correct its actions, which could set unintended precedents and have undesired consequences”, the party concluded its statement.