MONROVIA – The Rice Importers Association have appealed to the Government of Liberia to permit an increment on the price of rice due to rising cost of importation.
According to the Association, there is a worldwide increment in freight while at the same time fees for services at the National Port Authority (NPA) have also gone up.
They expressed fears that there may be shortage of rice on the market if there is no increment in the price.
The importers said their attention has also been drawn to the recent increment of fees of vessel and warehouse operation by the Association of Liberia Stacking Companies.
FrontPageAfrica Association, since their last agreement with importers in 2016, they have not imposed any increment, but there is now the need for additional charges.
In February 2018, President George Weah called a meeting with rice importers in the country where they agreed to reduce the price of rice by US$2-4.
Prior to the reduction, the price of 25kg bag of rice was US$16.00. Since February 2018, rice price has been US$13.00.
During the meeting, President Weah said, “If government-imposed tax is an issue, you can rest assured that my government is more than ready to grant reasonable adjustments in the tax regime to make the reduction of rice price possible.”
During that meeting with rice importers, President Weah reiterated his determination to ensure that something was immediately done to reduce the price of the rice and make it affordable and available to average Liberians.
At the end of the negotiations, officials of the Association of Liberian Rice Importers consented to effect a reduction of the price. The Association of Rice Importers headed by their Chairman, John Bestman, agreed to reduce the price of the 25Kg bag of rice by US $2.00 while the price of 50kg bag of rice will be reduced by US $4.00 with immediate effect.
However, according to the importers, two years after the reduction cost of importation has gone up and it making it difficult for them to cope with the current challenges.
They appealed with the government to see the need for the increment taking into consideration that rice is a political commodity and Liberia’s staple food.