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Liberia To Print New Banknotes To Address Cash Shortages

Liberia has approved a scheme to print new banknotes, according to an AFP journalist, in a bid to address long-running cash shortages in the West African nation.

The central bank will now be empowered to print notes worth 48.7 billion Liberian dollars ($281m, 235m euros) and to withdraw old ones from circulation.

People regularly complain of the difficulty of getting cash in Liberia, in shortages the central bank has said are due to high demand, few ATMs, and the circulation of foreign currency.

Liberia has two legal currencies: the Liberian dollar and the US dollar.

The country also imports the vast majority of its food, and wholesale imports and taxes are payable in US dollars only.

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Among other economic woes, the country of 5 million people suffers periodic fuel shortages and suffers from high inflation.

President George Weah, 54, in January urged the Liberian legislature to approve his plan to print banknotes to resolve supply shortages.

Liberia’s lower house signed off on printing new bills on Thursday, before the Senate approved it on Monday.

The new scheme will not introduce new denominations, although the five and ten dollar bills are due to become coins.

Liberia is still recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003, and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country.

AFP

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