President Sirleaf Suspends Tariff on Rice

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 80; effectively as of August 25, 2016 extending Executive Order No. 70 on the suspension of tariff on rice.

The government, according to an Executive Mansion release, is committed to ensuring that the prices of certain basic commodities on the Liberian market are at levels that do not impose unnecessary burden on the population.

According to the release, the government conducted an assessment and evaluation of the causes of increases in the prices of various commodities and intends to initiate measures to ameliorate the situation.

“Whereas in furtherance of the finding of the assessment, government has recognized the need to curb the continuous increase in the price of rice, the country’s staple, to make it affordable for public purchase,” the release added.

Executive Order No. 80 further notes that there exists a need for exigent measures to achieve the desired objectives of easing the economic burden on the citizens and residents to enable access to the staple food, and such measures cannot await long processes; and whereas in the Executive Power vested in the President by the Constitution, the President issued Executive Orders No. 11, 19, 45, 61 and 70 suspending import tariffs on rice in the interest of the public and circumstances again necessitate similar measures”.

“Now Therefore, the Government of Liberia in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public hereby extends Executive Order No. 70, suspending the import tariff on rice as classified under tariff No. 1006.30.00 (in packaging of more than 5kg or in bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packaging of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act 2000 as amended,” the release noted.

It may be called that a year ago, the President took similar decision in the wake of sky rocketing prices of the nation’s staple food-rice, when she issued an Executive Order No. 70 – extending Executive Order No. 61, which suspended tariff on rice.

At that the time, the government said it the decision in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public thereby extending Executive Order No. 61, suspending the import of tariff on rice as classified under tariff Nos. 1006.30.00 (in packing of more than 5kg or in bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packing of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act 2000 as amended.

The Executive Order No. 70, which then took effect, came at a time when the prices of basic commodities were increasing on the market.

An Executive Mansion Release, over the weekend said the Government is committed to ensuring that the prices of certain basic commodities on the Liberian market are at levels that do not impose unnecessary burden on the population.

The Executive Order No. 70 also follows government’s assessment and evaluation of the causes of increases in the prices of various strategic commodities. It says it intends to initiate measures to ameliorate the situation.

It also added that in furtherance of the findings of the assessment, government said it recognized the need to curb the continuous increases in the price of rice, the country’s staple to make it affordable for public purchase.

But it remains to be seen whether the new move will meet the exigent measures to achieve the desired objective of easing the economic burden on Liberians to enable access to the staple food, and such measures cannot await long processes as foreign exchange rate swings.

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