Rice Barons, GoL Will Remain Engaged -MoCI Says No Sub-Charge, No Price Hike As Yet

MONROVIA: Since President Joseph Boakai and importers of the nation’s staple briefly met over apparent deadlock over whether or not an increment in the price of the commodity should be effected, there are mixed reactions in the public space. Some Liberians believe increment is unstoppable, and bullying importers isn’t a solution, owing the facts that Government got no control under the circumstances where country does not produce its staple, where the market is dominated by aliens and where free market system is the order of the day. Others say rice merchants are heartlessly profit-conscious and that government should not allow them have their way. Meanwhile, the Government’s Chief Negotiator in the crisis, Commerce and Industry Minister Amin Modad assures the public that both parties still remain engaged and that all will be done to amicably arrive at settlement. The Analyst reports.

Two days ago, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry announced a pending increase in the price of rice due to several factors. In a release, the Ministry stated that based on continued discussion with the importers and other stakeholders, it was agreed that adjustments would be made after reviewing other cost drivers that would necessitate further engagements.

 

Subsequently, the President, His Excellency Joseph N. Boakai, met with the rice importers and other stakeholders, predicated upon evolving possibilities and took a decision that there will be no increase in the price of rice on the market.

According to a Commerce Ministry release, the Government and rice importers still remain engaged in addressing their concerns, particularly regarding the increasing costs of doing business and bottlenecks as raised by them.

“The Ministry of Commerce & Industry is reassuring the public that there is no shortage of rice on the market or further increase in the price of the commodity as is being speculated,” the released signed the Minister Modad said.

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry is therefore cautioning the general business community to sell the 5% Indian Parboiled rice at the stipulated price of US$16.75 per bag, warning that any entity or individual found hoarding, hiking, or creating other forms of artificial shortage of the commodity on the market will face the full weight of the law.

The Commerce Ministry release said the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry would be vigilant in monitoring and inspecting warehouses and business entities for compliance.

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