Commerce Minister Warns Against ‘Unacceptable’ Business Practices

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Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy has warned business people against insulting commerce inspectors and has threatened to take drastic action against violators.
He issued the warning last Thursday, while addressing the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, that insulting inspectors while performing their duties is unacceptable.

Minister Addy said unruly acts of some businesspeople toward Commerce Inspectors have been recorded on video and audio, which is an affront to human rights.

He explained that before inspectors can get into the field at a stipulated time, they are urged to exhibit professional standards in the execution of their duties.

While he does not support any unprofessional behavior on the part of Commerce Inspectors, he also remains steadfast in pleading their cause.
“We have some recordings of business people abusing our inspectors, and if you hear it, you will feel terrible about how the inspectors are treated by some of your colleagues,” he told the audience of Chamber members, many of whom included foreign businessmen.

At the same time, Minister Addy reiterated his vow to defend the Liberianization policy, which calls for protecting 16 businesses exclusively for Liberians.
He said he had received information that a foreigner is engaged in cement retail business and noted that if the person is caught, the necessary punishment will be instituted.

“Please advise your friends to desist from doing businesses that are set aside for Liberians. If there’s a need for you to [engage in] any of the 16 businesses set aside for Liberians, you can call for an amendment of the law that established it,” he declared.
It may be recalled that in 2013 Minister Addy promised to uphold the Liberianization policy.

His plan to fully implement the policy was echoed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who, in her annual address to the National Legislature that same year, mentioned the protection of certain businesses set aside for Liberians.

However, since the President made the statement and Minister Addy vowed to implement the law, not any foreigner has been caught in violation of the law except recently when the Minister found out that some foreigners are violating the law by doing businesses reserved for Liberians.

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