By Varney K. Sirleaf
As Liberia experiences an economic downward trend, the majority of the citizens across the country are being faced with serious hardship.
According to some of the marketers who our reporter spoke to over the weekend, they expressed disappointment in the way the government is handling the country’s economy.
“We thought this government could have done more to reduce the level of hardship citizens are facing now,” they said.
One of the main issues is the fluctuation of the US rate and the Liberian dollars on the market which is seriously affecting the market price.
Observers said since December of 2013 the exchange rate has been fluctuating between 80 to 90 Libeiran dollars to a single US dollar.
In recent times, the exchange rate went up to 88 Liberian dollars to 1 United States dollar prompting Liberians to decry the situation, but has now dropped between 80 to 82 Liberian dollars to 1 US dollar.
Another issue raised by some of the citizens was the hiking of prices on the market blaming it also on the exchange rate.
When some of the business people were asked why prices of basic commodities are so high on the market, they said it was because of the high exchange rate.
“When we go to buy goods, we pay more than the equivalent in USD, and you cannot sell without making profit, therefore as we pay high money to purchase the goods we charge high to get our profit,” they narrated.
Others said they could abruptly reduce prices as the rate drops, because according to them it is not stable; meaning it could be inflated any time.
It was also noted that money exchangers are afraid to write a definite daily rate at their bureaus or money exchange boxes because of the fluctuation of the rate.
They also expressed fear of what will happen if July comes, a time when business people and buyers will all be looking for the US dollars to do shopping for the Independence Day celebration.
For some of the educated elites, they argue that the problem Liberia is facing now is not only unique to Liberia, but that it’s a global issue.
They further argue that Liberia is not an island; therefore anything that affects the others affects Liberia also, because we are all interdependent.
However, contrary to the argument that the economic problem is not only limited to Liberia stated that for them they are still doubting the ability of the two government officials who are steering the affairs of the Liberian economy, meaning the fiscal and monetary policies of the country in the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Liberia.
“How are they working, what kind of fiscal and monetary policies put into place to solve these problems? The only thing we see them doing is political battle between the two public institutions. They are not helping us,” they explained with disgust.
The Central Bank market buying and selling rates released on Saturday, May 17, 2014 read: Buying rate L$84.00 to $1USD, while the Selling rate had L$85.00 to $1USD.
The Central Bank has always noted that they are indicative rates based on results of daily surveys of the foreign exchange market in Monrovia and its environs, stating that these rates are collected from the forex bureaus and the commercial banks.
But according to www.xe.com site the exchange rate on the international market read as: 85.4999 to US$1 dollar.
Liberia’s economy operates a free market; therefore all market prices are determined by the marketers and the commercial banks as stated by the Central Bank of Liberia.
Below is a fact sheet on the Liberian economy:
LRD Stats/Name: Liberian Dollar
Symbol: $ Cent: ¢
Top LRD Conversion:
Top LRD Chart:
Freq Used: $1, ¢5, ¢10, ¢25, ¢50
Freq Used: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
Note that all these information are provided by the Central Bank of Liberia to the international market:
Central Bank of Liberia