The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a seven-day ultimatum to non-Liberian owners and operators of pharmaceuticals to present their Articles of Incorporation, or be made to face weight of the law.
The business entities concerned are to also present their financial statements for the Year ended 2019 if they should not be subjected to punitive actions within the confines of the law.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Commerce says the essence of the decision is to determine the nature of Liberian participation in such sector as enshrined in the Liberianization Policy, saying that the operation of pharmaceuticals in Liberia, the release said, is exclusively set aside for Liberian citizens under the Liberianization Policy.
The instructions were given by the Commerce Ministry over the weekend during a meeting with owners and operators of pharmaceuticals in the country. The meeting with the operators and owners of pharmaceuticals was the result of increasing reports of hike in the prices of essential drugs on the Liberian market in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
The Ministry said it was disappointing to note that owners /operators of these pharmaceutical businesses could be taking advantage of the prevailing health crisis in the country by inflicting the prices of essential drugs.
“We want all of you to realize that whenever the operating environment is not stable or friendly as with the current Coronavirus crisis, it also affects your respective businesses,” the release quoted the Ministry as saying.
The Ministry noted further that arbitrary rise in the prices of essential commodities on the local market could suggest that those involved are not concerned about the wellbeing of consumers, but are instead going after profit making.
The Commerce Ministry said there was no justification for people to increase prices of essential products on the local market at such a critical time in the country’s history, as the cost of the products being hiked were brought in prior to the health crisis.
For their part, three representatives of the cited pharmacies acknowledged the Commerce Ministry’s concerns about hike of the prices of essential drugs on the Liberian market, and agreed they will do some down ward adjustment.
Speaking further, owners/operators of the pharmacies concerned said considering the many years some of them have stayed in the country, they consider themselves as Liberians and pledged to be part of national efforts to keep the business sectors friendly through constructive activities.
The representatives from the cited pharmaceuticals also hailed the Liberian Government for always ensuring that the business environment is friendly. They also vowed to pass the message on to their colleagues, who did not attend the Friday, April 3, 2020 Meeting with the Commerce Ministry which was intended to curb these bad business practices at the disadvantage of the Coronavirus crisis to step up prices through arbitrary means.
At the same time, they spoke about challenges being experienced as a result of the Corona Virus crisis across the world, saying that countries where some of their goods usually come from, including India, China and Europe are now locked down.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Abeer, BUNTY, Sonia, Lucky, Sheer Krishna and NAND Pharmacies as well as Pharmaceutical Inc.