MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Senate has voted to confirm Aloysius Tarlue as the new executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia. The Senate’s decision came on Monday, Dec. 16 at an extraordinary session requested by President George Weah.
With his confirmation, Tarlue replaces Nathaniel Patray, who left the position on an ‘aged-related’ retirement in October, having occupied the position for a little over a year at a time of growing economic decline and a crisis of illiquidity in the commercial banking sector.
Acknowledging Liberia’s current economic crisis, Tarlue told the senate confirmation hearing that the challenges are not insurmountable.
He said he has more than 17 years of solid policy drafting, review, and quality compliance experiences; as well as a background enforcing standards in five global financial institutions in the United States. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public administration, with an emphasis on public policy from Kean University, New Jersey, Tarlue believes he is the right man for the top Central Bank job.
Following his appointment in November, many inside and outside of Liberia questioned both his preparedness and experience to head the Central Bank, since he had no central banking experience. But Tarlue, and certainly President Weah and the Liberian Senate think otherwise.
Speaking at his confirmation hearing, Tarlue pledged his commitment to a cleared-eye approach to policies and enforcement at the bank.
“I submit that the key challenge that continues to undermine our monetary policy implementation is the lack of effective enforcement of regulatory and compliance measures. Weak safeguards framework at the CBL continues to be a key problem,” he said.
He highlighted the structural, procedural, and policy weaknesses at the bank following two critical independent reports by the USAID-hired Kroll Associates and the Presidential Investigative Team into the questionable printing of Liberian dollar currency, as well as the International Monetary Fund’s staff assessment.
To address these challenges, Tarlue promised first to undertake a root and branch review of the bank’s current status as the basis for a new vision for the bank that re-brands and repositions it to help tackle the current economic challenges the country faces.
His vision for the bank as executive governor, he insists, is to rebuild public confidence and trust, and help steer the economy back into normal functioning over the next five years.
“Regarding achieving financial sustainability of the CBL, we will undertake a strategic and functional review of the CBL’s operations. The CBL is currently incurring operational losses due to various inefficiencies, including a bloated workforce, which the budget cannot sustain,” he noted. “If the CBL cannot fix itself, I believe it cannot help fix the country`s monetary challenges.”
With the Liberian economy contracting at 1.4 percent in 2019, following a modest growth of 1.2 percent in 2018, and inflation increasing from 26.1 percent the 31.3 percent over a one-year period in August 2019, according to the World Bank, it remains to be seen what difference Tarlue’s leadership at the Central Bank will make in easing the crisis.
Featured photo by Crispin Tulay