MONROVIA– Liberia has assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ). The body took the decision at its 45th annual meeting which was held virtually on Friday, August 27, 2021. Liberia’s leadership of the sub-regional body follows Sierra Leone’s and comes at a critical time when WAMZ, which comprises English speaking West Africa plus Guinea, strives for a single currency.
In his acceptance remarks, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah Jr, urged member states to continue on the path of implementing prudent policy measures in order to reverse some of the losses seen since the outbreak of COVID-19. He however stressed that despite the pandemic, Liberia has shown marked economic resilience, which he said has resulted in inflation trending downward to around 8 percent and domestic revenue reaching its highest level since the end of the war in 2003.
But Minister Tweah also observed that West African countries are expected to face price vulnerabilities due to global supply chain shocks on account of the persistence of the Delta variant, noting however, that prices are projected to normalize by mid 2022.
The Minister said that COVID-19 has impacted some Convergence indicators, such as central bank financing. He explained that Liberia has not received a dime from this financing source for two fiscal years, as it is said to have not yet met the indicator because of COVID-19 related disbursement from the IMF that were on-lent to the Government of Liberia.
Despite the group’s inability to physically meet in Liberia because of recent resurgence of COVID in some parts of the sub-region, Minister Tweah pledged Liberia’s commitment to support both the Convergence of Ministers and Governors, and the West African Monetary Union.
During the meeting, CBL Governor Aloysious Tarlue, who also assumed the Chairmanship of the WAMZ Governors Committee, presented the Council’s technical report followed by a general deliberation and recommendations. Key among them was the Governors’ observation that IMF COVID-related disbursements and others, such as the pending SDR allocations, should not be considered central bank financing.