For the fourth time in less than two months, the foreign exchange rate against the weak Liberian dollar has skyrocketed again.
Currently, one United States Dollar is being exchanged for L$87 to L$ 88 in several parts of Monrovia.
During the last foreign exchange hike around the holiday season, the Liberian Government was able to intervene swiftly; a development that led to an immediate drop in the exchange rate between both currencies, which are legal tenders in Liberia.
As a result of the recent hike in the rate, commercial drivers and other public service transport providers are charging commuters and business people from Red-light Market, Paynesville to central Monrovia L$80 to L$90. The latter amount is L$30 more than the usual fare for that distance.
Instead of the approved Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s price of L$60 from Red-light Market in Paynesville and L$50 from ELWA junction, outside Monrovia commercial drivers continue to remain stubborn and defiant.
Due to the current hike in transport fare of essential commodities on the Liberian market, commuters and business people have sounded an urgent call on the Liberian Government to take practical steps in order to address the situation.
Owing also to the escalation of transportation prices many Liberians are seen stranded at various street corners.
Business people from Central Monrovia’s general markets, who went to the Red-light Market over the weekend to buy commodities from rural Liberia, were astonished to learn of the huge hike in most of the commodities.
Many of Central Monrovia’s business people paraded the densely populated Red-light Market and were left no other option but to buy the locally produced commodities at inflated prices.
Commodities that had their prices increased included rice, cassava, cucumbers, corn, peanuts, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, cassava greens among others.
Several consumers expressed concern over the situation and sounded an urgent appeal to the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Transport to take strict measures against some of the exploitative transport service providers.
One commuter from Paynesville told the Daily Observer that if swift action was not instituted by the Liberian government on the current foreign exchange situation, public outcry might degenerate into street protest.
Darlington B. Dolo, 48, said the current hardship being encountered at the hands of commercial drivers could be attributed to the silence being exhibited by the Liberian Government.
Businesswoman Sarah Kolliego, 38, said she was running out of business due to the current hike in commodities on the Liberian market.
“I was shocked to see how much the prices of locally produced commodities have been ramped up beyond the reach of ordinary Liberians,” Madam Kolliego said.