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





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.