Address the Exchange Rate Dilemma

As the Liberian Dollar (LD) continues to depreciate against the United States Dollar (USD) on the Liberian market, one USD is now being exchanged for LD$155 or more in many quarters.

The sharp increase of the exchange rate on the Liberian market has caused the prices of basic commodities as well as transport fares to upsurge almost exponentially across the country.

This situation, by all accounts, is also triggering severe hardship for citizens and residents with predominately the vast majority of the country’s poor feeling the economic pinch.

In many urban and rural communities, ordinary people remain worrisome as it relates to the extreme difficulties that everyone is going through to get a single meal for a day.

We need not mention how poor parents are even finding it unaffordable to maintain their children in school as a result of high tuitions and other exorbitant fees being requested by school authorities.

 For example, some schools that had issued preliminary clearances to their 12 grade students who completed their courses of study as prescribed by the Ministry of Education and awaiting graduation pending the release of the results of this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) are being requested by their respective schools to pay a whopping US$130 each or more as a “graduation fee.”

In other words, a prospective secondary school graduate is now expected to pay US$130 or its Liberian dollar equivalence of LD$20,150 at a rate of one USD to LD$155.

With the prevailing economic difficulties in the country, we are afraid to say that many students who are academically eligible for graduation may not afford payment of such exorbitant amount being imposed by some school administrators as a graduation fee for each student.

This is why we reserve no iota of hesitation in calling on the Government of Liberia (GoL) through its concerned line ministries and agencies to urgently intervene with respect to addressing the exchange rate situation between the US and Liberian dollar so as to bring much-needed relief to the Liberian people.

Frankly, as the economic situation is in the country, the Government should not afford to remain utterly silent on the worrisome development. It is in this direction that we are calling on President George Manneh Weah and his government to roll up their sleeves, tighten their belts and take concrete, impactful, meticulous and prudent measures aimed at stabilizing the exchange rate situation in the country so as to bring relief to the citizenry.

We trust that President Weah will act and act decisively in the best interest of all and sundry.

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