Liberia: Many Businesses Stranded as Commerce Ministry Ignores Pres. Weah’s Executive Order on IPD
MONROVIA – In December last year, President George Weah issued Executive Order 103 in an effort to stimulate economic growth. Executive Order 103, among other things, exempted all commercial importers of goods into Liberia from seeking Import Permit Declaration (IPD), however, FrontPageAfricainvestigation has found that the President’s Executive Order has been trashed by the Ministry of Commerce.
The Executive Order stated, “All Commercial Importers of goods into Liberia are exempted from seeking Import Permits and filling Import Permit Declarations. In lieu of the Import Permit Declaration (IPD), the Import Notification Form (INF) is now being used as an administrative document to collect trade statistical data to monitor the inflow and outflow of goods and facilitate trade in the Commerce of Liberia.”
As a result of the lack of adherence to the President’s mandate at the Ministry of Commerce, businesses are now compelled to seek IPD as the Ministry of Commerce has been reneging on the issuance of the IPD.
However, many of the affected businesses believe the Commerce Ministry’s action is deliberate and intended to create an unfair market situation and stifle some businesses.
The refusal of the Commerce Ministry which is insisting on the IPD but at the same time refusing to approve IPDs for the importation of frozen foods is intended to afford a particular foreign business time without competition to sell their products which are on the verge of expiring.
This action, FrontPageAfrica gathered is not only exposing Liberians to health risk by leaving them with no option to be eat expired and contaminated foods, but also strangulating businesses and by extension slumping the economy by depriving the country of much-needed revenue.
The Ministry continues to remain mute on inquiries.
“Go to the minister’s office, you’ll see several applications for IPDs for frozen foods on her desk. She is refusing to sign them. Why? Does she have any idea what she is doing to our business? Of course, she does. She knows exactly what she is doing. Strangulating us to benefit a single individual. This is what discourages investors from coming to Liberia. They do it to us all the time,” one of the aggrieved Liberian entrepreneurs and a victim of the monopoly who asked for anonymity said to FrontPageAfrica.
Frozen foods like chicken feet, pig sheet, chicken, turkey, turkey wings, chicken wings, sausage, etc. These foods are part of Liberians every day food, therefore, making the demand for them on the market very high.
“We have received sufficient information among our partners and confirmed with our sources within the ministry of commerce that Minister Diggs is deliberately refusing to grant us the IPD because a particular company has tons of goods that they are on the verge of expiring. So, in order to clear it off the market, he needs monopoly – that means, he must be the only supplier and there will be a big rush to him and all his products will be cleared. That is the game they are playing at the Ministry of Commerce and the Minister, I am aware, has signed up to this,” another businessman said.