Friday, July 15, 2016

Side effects

The UNMIL has had a large peacekeeping force in Liberia for a number of years now, and it is time to draw down.

When I was there I saw quite a few furniture stores. I was told this was part of a rehabilitation for former fighters--learn a trade and support yourself. Ah. And who buys the Western-style furniture? Oh, mostly foreigners, peacekeepers, and so on. And what happens when the peacekeepers leave and live somewhere else? We expect the economy to have picked up by then.

A lot of the troops' salaries probably went home to family, but some was spent locally and it was hard currency. Now that they're leaving, hard currency is drying up. Expect a jolt.

Blame slinging has already begun:

He said the CBL is, however, aware that there are some business executives who are reportedly hoarding large quantities of Liberian dollar at home instead of using the banking system.

He said these suspected hoarders have the tendency of using cash “hoards to adversely and artificially impact the exchange rate; actions that have the propensity to be interpreted as economic sabotage.”

People are blaming the CBL for printing too many Liberian dollars; he needs to point elsewhere. Still--claiming that executives are hoarding Liberian dollars in order to make them depreciate?

BTW, police aren't getting paid:

Delays in the payment of Liberia National Police officers after waiting for nearly three months yesterday took a different turn when pay checks in Liberian dollars could not be encashed at the bank.

After the checks were reportedly rejected due to lack of sufficient funds, LNP authorities under the supervision of the Police Support Unit (PSU) took over yesterday’s payment exercise, which was conducted in the basement of the LNP on Capitol Hill.

A Daily Observer investigation established that during the exercise, which brought together officers from the PSU, Liberian dollar checks that were destined to be cashed at one of the local banks, were discovered to have names of several “dead personnel and officers,” others who had traveled abroad and others dismissed and no longer in the employ of the LNP.

I don't think you can attribute that problem to the UNMIL drawdown, though.

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