The Commerce Inspector in Ganta, Nimba County, has underscored that the lack of vehicles or motorcycles at the border posts in the county makes it difficult to arrest the illegal exportation of goods from Liberia.
Inspector Monlee Monbleah in an interview with this paper on January 4, said, “We have constraints facing us in contending with the issue of illegal exportation. We hire commercial motorcycles to chase some of the people involved in illegal exportation, and the border line here is porous.”
Mr. Monbleah’s comment comes following concerns that huge quantities of petroleum products were being bought in Ganta and exported to neighboring Guinea.
There is an Executive Order preventing the export of basic commodities including rice, petroleum products and cement to other countries because of their scarcity.
It may be recalled that on January 2, 2016, a vehicle from the Republic of Guinea with plate number RC-7364-P parked at the Aminata & Sons petrol station in Ganta was loaded with over seven containers of petroleum products.
The Commerce Inspector said the Executive Order preventing the aforementioned commodities stresses that they (commodities) should not leave Liberia in huge quantities, although he could not state what the Order considers “huge.”
Gasoline is currently sold in Monrovia for L$310 while diesel (fuel oil) is sold for L$325 or more in the wake of the depreciating value of the Liberian dollar.
As mentioned, there are many bordering points between Liberia and Guinea on the one hand, and Liberia and Cotê d’Ivoire on the other.
People along these border lines are interrelated by marriage, other extended family ties and languages.
Based on these ties, it is easy to smuggle these products to neighboring countries since people from these neighboring countries speak the same languages and have common relationships.
Besides using the main border points in the Ganta region, farmers along the St. John River have their canoes that they can easily use to transport goods and people to and from Guinea.
This existing situation allows people not only to smuggle restricted goods between Liberia and its neighbors, but it also serves as a channel for businesspeople to bypass customs and evade taxes.