35 employees of the Central Bank of Liberia have been brought under the jurisdiction of the court and prohibited from leaving the country until the investigation into the alleged missing L$16 billion is concluded.Is the Central Bank of Liberia broke? And is it so broke to the extent that public financial instruments held by individuals and institutions are purportedly being reportedly downgraded, is the million dollar question lingering on the kinds of the public.The answer is yes, according to a Liberian financial expert Yanqui Zaza who made the disclosure at a Governance Commission one-day policy forum on the state of the Liberian economy held over the weekend at the Lutheran compound in Sinkor.Mr. Zaza disclosed that the Government of Liberia (GOL) in 2016 owed commercial banks a total of US$ 42,435,165. He explained that an analysis of commercial banks’ loan portfolios shows that three sectors of the economy accounts for the stated amount remained outstanding at the close of the fiscal period. Those sectors, according to him are a) Trade; b) Construction and c) Services, while Manufacturing accounted for a mere 5 percent of the total.He furthered that GOL’s over-reliance on what he calls User taxes which include Excise, Value added, Payroll, Income, Real Estate, Property, Sales and other related taxes to finance its budget is unsustainable because such a practice usually leads to the accumulation of huge debts borrowed from international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.Earlier, the President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) John Davies, from whom Mr. Zaza apparently took his cue, had disclosed during his presentation that the severity of this problem has created a situation wherein commercial banks have developed a tendency to display a rather knee-jerk reaction-NEXT- to those presenting GOL contracts and obligations as collateral for lending assistance.Given the growing public outcry against rising economic difficulties induced by the current liquidity crisis and given the importance that the Daily Observer attaches to this matter, several attempts made over the past few weeks to contact the Central Bank Governor or any of his functionaries for comment proved futile until late Sunday evening when this newspaper finally succeed in establishing contact with Mr. Cyrus Badio, Public Relations Manager at the Central Bank.When asked for comment on Mr. Zaza’s averments that the Central Bank of Liberia at the close of fiscal year 2016 owed commercial banks to the tone of US$42,435,165, Mr. Badio replied that he could not comment since such information was not availed to him, however promised to contact the relevant individuals clothed with the authority to speak on such matters. He did not say when, although requested the Daily Observer to hold on to its story until he had done so.Meanwhile the Daily Observer has confirmed its readiness to publish the Central Bank’s comments in reaction to Mr. Zaza’s comments.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Last week I asked the question of exactly how many PS4 consoles Sony will sell before the Xbox One launches. I predicted around 1.25 million, but anything up to 2 million was expected based on reading the comments on that post. Now Sony is in agreement with analysts, that it could see sales of 3 million consoles before the end of 2013.That’s good news for gamers who have opted to purchase a PS4 this year without pre-ordering one. Sony must have plenty of stock ready to ship, and with sales expected to reach 5 million by March next year, they should have plenty more arriving in launch countries in the coming weeks.Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony, has claimed that there won’t be the supply problems that limited sales at the PS3 launch. Switching to an x86 architecture, having the major components supplied by AMD, and not using any brand new tech like Blu-ray was back in 2006, certainly helps in that regard.What Sony is a little concerned about isn’t hardware supplies, but network access. If million of PS4s are going to be flooding into homes next week, most of them will be logging into the PlayStation Network and getting that 300MB day one patch. Sony is confident its systems will cope, but Tretton describes it as a “non-issue until it’s over.” I think that translates to meaning they don’t expect a problem, but will be watching closely ready to react if something goes wrong.It will be interesting to watch how sales of both the PS4 and Xbox One pan out over the next two months. I think it’s safe to say the PS4 certainly has more potential for higher sales in 2013. That’s not just because of the 7 day head start over Microsoft’s console, but because it is launching in more countries. While the Xbox One will launch in North America, across Europe, Australia, and Brazil this year, Sony adds Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, India, and Saudi Arabia to that list to name a few. The availability works out to 13 countries for Xbox One, and 32 countries for PS4.