CBL Clarifies Distorted and Erroneous Media Reports

MONROVIA – February 16, 2018: Despite an end-of-year press conference on December 21, 2017 on

 

the state of the Liberian economy, stories still linger,  alleging illegal capital transfers. These stories

 

linger because the statistics that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has released have been taken out

 

of context and/or simply misunderstood. It is therefore important, that the CBL clarifies these stories to

 

prevent speculations that have the propensity to undermine the credibility and stability of the financial

 

sector and by extension present wrong signals to the public including our development partners,

 

current and potential investors, among others.

 

 

During the December 2017 Press Conference, the CBL  disclosed that between November 2016 and

 

October 2017, outward personal remittance amounted to US$449.41 million while during that same

 

period, Liberia received US$545.78 million in inward personal remittance, representing a net gain of

 

US$96.37 million.

 

 

The US$449 million mentioned comprised all transfers in cash made by residents to non-residents

 

and transfers between resident and non-resident individuals on one hand. On the other hand, it also

 

comprised transfers of income of border, seasonal, and other short-term workers who are employed in

 

the economy where they are not resident. It is the total of all monies remitted through Western Union,

 

MoneyGram, Ria (another money transfer operator) and via SWIFT by individuals and/or businesses to

 

the rest of the world.

 

 

Furthermore, reporting that there was US$449.41 in outward personal remittance in 2017 does not in

 

any way suggest that the money was transmitted directly from the CBL or transmitted to unidentified

 

foreign accounts. The CBL wishes to emphasize that the sources of the monies that were remitted

 

were not from the Central Bank of Liberia. In addition, nowhere in the CBL publication does the issue

 

of unidentified foreign accounts arise.

 

 

For the calendar year 2017 (i.e. January-December, 2017), provisional statistics show that the total

 

outflows of personal remittances amounted to US$445.3 million. Of this amount, about 31.5 percent

 

was transferred through Money Transfer Operators (i.e. Western Union, MoneyGram, and RIA) while the

 

remaining 68.5 percent were through banks using SWIFT. Most of the SWIFT transactions (which

 

constituted 68.5 percent of the total outflows) were carried out by businesses engaged in construction

 

activities, rice and frozen food importation, auto parts, supermarkets and trading businesses, among

 

others.

 

 

Over the last 2 years, preceding the elections period, the total outflows of personal remittances

 

grew from US$293.4 million in 2015 to US$304.6 million in 2016. The growth in total outflow in 2017

 

largely reflects responses within the economy to uncertainty that may have been associated with the

 

then impending elections. Where there is uncertainty, there will be outflow of funds. It is important,

 

however, to once again emphasize that the total outflow of remittances mentioned is an aggregate of

 

personal remittances from various sources and NOT transfers made by officials of Government or to

 

unknown accounts as is being wrongly perceived.

 

 

The Central Bank of Liberia welcomes public scrutiny, especially from the media, but this must be done

 

in good faith.

 

End.