Liberia: Ship Load Of Frozen Foods Awaits IPD At Freeport of Monrovia

File photo of containers at the Freeport of Monrovia

MONROVIA – The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has certified all documents required for the offloading of a ship currently waiting at the Free Port of Monrovia to offload frozen foods, which is gradually becoming scarce on the local market, but the importer’s inability to obtain an Import Permit Declaration (IPD) from the Ministry of Commerce remains the hindrance.

Over the last few months, local and foreign owned businesses have complained over the refusal of the Ministry of Commerce to issue IPD for the importation of frozen foods.

While the ship awaits at the port for the IPD is prepared, the importer is likely to incur more demurrages.

Demurrage refers to the charges that the charterer pays to the ship owner for its delayed operations of loading/unloading.

The Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), and other civil society organizations have expressed concerns over the IPD issue in the country and have called on the Ministry of Commerce to rescue the situation.

For now key commodities like eggs, onions, frozen fish, meat and other staple food are running out of stock on the Liberian market due to the Ministry of Commerce’s refusal to sign Import Permit Declaration to allow businesses bring in their goods.

Not only has the IPD situation put a strain on most businesses, but it has also put a lot of Liberian jobs at risk – forcing these employers to scale down on man-power due to fall in revenue as a result of these constraints.

In December 2020, issued Executive Order No. 103 in an effort to stimulate economic growth.

The goal of the President was exempt all commercial importers of goods into Liberia from seeking Import Permit Declaration (IPD).

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.”

The lack of adherence to the President’s mandate at the Ministry of Commerce, have compelled businesses to seek IPD as the Ministry of Commerce has been reneging on the issuance of the IPD.

Some businesses affected by the IPD saga are concerned that the Ministry’s action is deliberate and intended to create an unfair market situation and stifle some businesses.