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Street forex vendors to regularize status by Sept. 30

Daily Observer/Maximilian Kasseh,Jr.
A street vendor daily exchange rate on display
A street vendor daily exchange rate on display

MONROVIA,LIBERIA-The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has agreed to permit members of the National Street Vendors & Scratch Card Dealers (NSVSCD) to conduct foreign exchange operations. The CBL is also considering establishing a Category C license for NSVSCD members. NSVSCD members will be required to obtain individual business registration from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry on or before September 30, 2018 in order to be licensed by the CBL under the regulations of the Category C license.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) and the National Street Vendors & Scratch Card Dealers (NSVSCD) to agree on terms intended to align the organization with the policy measures introduced on July 18, 2018 to address the depreciation of the Liberian Dollar. The policy measures announced in relation to the NSVSCD prohibited the organization from engaging in foreign exchange operations and limited them to selling scratch cards.

In response to the policy measures, the NSVSCD expressed commitment to cooperate with the authorities and to formalize their operations. According to the NSVSCD, the GSM companies only accept payment in United States Dollars, which limits their ability to replenish their scratch cards supply. The NSVSCD, therefore, requested a dispensation to permit their members to continue their FX operations and extend the deadline for formalization of their business.

In a statement issued Monday, July 30, the CBL expressed its commitment to supporting small Liberian foreign exchange operators to operate in the foreign exchange market in an orderly fashion, while making a robust effort to reduce the number of unlicensed operators in the market. Therefore, effective October 1, 2018, the CBL in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders will conduct monitoring exercises to weed out unlicensed scratch card dealers, minimize speculation and ensure compliance with the CBL-issued mandate for quotation of exchange rates. The enforcement will entail, but not be limited to, the closure of unlicensed scratch card dealerships.

Meanwhile, members of the NSVSCD have also agreed with the TEMT that they will desist from posting exchange rates on placards in the streets. Instead, foreign exchange rates shall be conspicuously displayed inside their places of business using the same rates as licensed foreign exchange bureaux.

CBL will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSVSCD formalizing this agreement. The terms expressed herein take immediate effect.

 


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