Liberia’s domestic debt hits $708m

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Augustus J. Flomo, Deputy Minister of Finance for Economic Management, recently disclosed that Liberia’s domestic debt portfolio has soared to $708 million since December 2021.

The Deputy Finance Minister said that due to rising domestic debt, his ministry now adheres to the President’s decision not to borrow funds from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to repay the current debt .

President George Weah has reportedly blocked borrowing from the Central Bank since 2019, according to the Deputy Minister of Debt Management at the MFDP. Flomo made the disclosure about the country’s domestic debts when Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon recently asked him a question before the Senate Ways, Means and Finance Committee.

“The government owed the CBL $233 million, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) $50 million, and the commercial banks $55 million before the president made his decision in 2019,” it said. -he explains. “After the president ordered in 2019 that no money be credited to the CBL, new debts were calculated and charged against the government grant, totaling $708 million.”

Flomo further revealed that the increase in government debt began as early as 1930, although he was fully aware that the government is in continuity. He pointed out that some of these cases have been taken to court and the government has managed to win some of them based on the admissible evidence provided.

He, however, said the government set aside $72 million for domestic debt in the 2020-2021 budget and another $69 million in the 2022 budget to help the country pay its debts.

According to him, if this is done annually, it will take the government ten years to pay the full US$708 million. But earlier this year, Weah said his administration had made significant progress in restructuring the country’s domestic debt, which stands at $660 million, saying the total stock of external debt will now stood at around $1.03 billion.

In his 5th Annual Message delivered to the Fifth Session of the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 24, 2022, Weah added that the total outstanding public debt was valued at $1.69 billion as of December 31, 2021.

He also said that all debt owed to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), including debt owed to the former National Bank of Liberia, was consolidated into one restructured and consolidated loan at the start of the Fund-supported program. international monetary policy (IMF). two years ago.

However, Flomo further informed the committee that an audit of the country’s domestic debt is currently being conducted by the General Audit Commission (GAC).

Senator Prince Moye, Co-Chair of the Ways, Means and Finance Committee, informed the Minister after the public hearing that the committee will adjourn in the committee room and ask his office to provide certain documents necessary for the committee’s review.

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