Monrovia - Liberian politician, Benoni Urey, has reacted to comments from his political rivals and critics who condemned him for his advocacy on the reduction on the price of rice which he said was profitable for few importers.
“Insult was rained on me because I said when I am elected President, I will make sure that the price of rice is reduced in order to ease the suffering of our people. I stand by my statement!
It doesn’t take a magician to lower the price of rice. It only takes a government that cares about the livelihood of its people.” Presidential aspirant Benoni Urey
Rice is Liberia’s staple food but the price of the commodity continues to increase, something Urey said was burdensome to the citizens.
Recently, outgoing Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson, who has been named as Liberia’s Representative to the International Maritime Organization, criticized Urey for making a comment about the reduction in the price of rice.
Jackson further stated that Liberians were not suffering anymore and that they could afford to buy food to eat.
But Urey, who has a background in agriculture, resounded that it was not magical to reduce the price of rice, especially when government cares about the livelihood of its citizens.
“Insult was rained on me because I said when I am elected President; I will make sure that the price of rice is reduced, in order to ease the suffering of our people. I stand by my statement! It doesn’t take a magician to lower the price of rice."
"It only takes a government that cares about the livelihood of its people,” said Urey.
In a FrontPage Africa conversation Wednesday in Careysburg at the climax of vacation job for youth, the All Liberian Party (ALP) political leader said the increase in the price of rice on the Liberian market was due to huge profits importers intend to gain.
He said opening the rice market to all importers would create competition that would lead to the reduction in the price of rice.
“Today in Liberia, rice is not expensive because the importers are buying it at a high price from international rice suppliers,” Urey said.
“It is expensive because these importers are making millions in profit every month by selling rice at a high price to our people."
"This is something that our government is doing nothing about! Secondly, the government has refused to open the rice market to anyone who wishes to import rice into the country to sell at a cheaper price,” he added.
Urey said it is unfair for importers of rice to continuously benefit huge profit at the expense of Liberians.
According to him, the current price of rice on the Liberian market is exorbitant thus making the country’s stable food a “luxury”.
“Why must rice be a business that a few people get rich on, considering the dire state that the country is in?
Consider the fact that on each bag of rice, these importers make up to $3.00USD profit ($285.00LD). Don't you think that this is too much?”
The ALP Political leaders cautioned his critics, especially those in government, to begon crafting policies that would improve the lives of citizens.
At the same time, Urey noted that condemnations and insults from the public could in no way deter him from pointing to odds in the Liberian society, thus stressing the need for job creation, improved education and healthcare among others to be prioritized for Liberians.
Rice has an infamous history in Liberia, as on April 14, 1979, violence over the price of rice jolted the Liberian capital, marking a new political beginning in the country’s history.