‘Stop Granting Too Many Rice Import Permit’ – Civil Society Group Admonishes Commerce Ministry
Monrovia – A civil society organization, the National Progressive Movement of Liberia (NPM), is calling on the Ministry of Commerce to apply due diligence in the issuance of rice import permit.
Report by Al Varney Rogers, [email protected]
“We are calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce to properly assess the financial potential of those desiring to import rice in Liberia,” National Progressive Movement Executive Director Prince Siryon said.
The group says its attention has been drawn to the growing number of business people expressing interest in obtaining permit for the importation of rice.
“While we cherish competition for the importation of basic commodities on the Liberian market, it is important to note that the government must take due care in granting permission,” Siryon said.
Siryon said, rice is a political commodity and do have a national security implication, it would be risky for the government to gamble by just granting anybody the right to import rice.
The NPM Executive Director added that Ministry of Commerce needs to ensure that business people who are given import permit have the financial capability and are able to maintain a constant supply of rice on the market.
The Minister of Commerce Wilson Tarpeh acknowledged that more business people are applying for permit to import rice.
The Commerce Minister said, they will ensure those who are given the right to import are ready and equipped to execute such task.
Prof. Tarpeh assured the public that the Ministry will ensure that the commodity is on the market adding strong guidelines will be necessary to maintain constant supply.
The NPM said that the move of persons posing to engage in the rice importation might cause the current importers to drop the quantity of rice been imported.
NPM furthers that if current importers drop in their importation and those the government wants to import rice failed, adding that might worsen the current economic condition of the country.
“We would like to underscore that given that this government is new and in its formative stage couple with current economic situation.”
NPM is calling on the government to rethink its decision and cease granting permission to people for the importation of rice into Liberia.
“This is in no way trying to stop business people from venturing into the importation of rice but if care not taken we might result to late 70s.
NPM wants the government to cancel all permission that may have been granted to individuals who weren’t properly check for the importation of rice on the Liberian market.
Siryon said the current importers over the past twelve years, have proven that they can regularly supply the Liberian market and are doing everything to support the President’s Pro-Poor agenda.
“Opening a flood gate for people to import rice without properly evaluating their financial standing, will have a serious impact on government revenue generation,” Siryon added.
National Progressive Movement of Liberia notes that if President George Weah does not timely address this situation adding that NPM foresee shortage of rice on the market thus leaving those potential business people to divert their course of business to different sector.