–If government addresses their challenges
Though the US$3 reduction in the price of a 25kg bag of rice proposed by President George Weah to rice importers has yet to take effect, it could be possible in the future once a few challenges facing rice marketers are addressed and modalities worked out by the government.
“If the government imposed tax is an issue, you can rest assured that my government is more than ready to grant reasonable adjustments in the tax regime to make the reduction of the price of rice possible,” President Weah told members of the Rice Importers Association at the meeting on Thursday.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the rice importers, however, decided on a reduction of US$2 per 25kg bag of rice, and US$4 per 50kg bag.
The welcoming news comes as a result of increased pressure on rice importers by President Weah, who believes it is intolerable for the price of the national staple to increase amid the high cost of living in the country.
President Weah and officials of the Rice Importers Association met, for the second day running, on Friday, February 2 to continue negotiations on further reduction of the price of rice on the local market.
The discussions, according to the release, started on Thursday, February 1, at which time the President promised to do everything possible to ensure that the market price of rice was reduced.
At Friday’s meeting with the rice importers, President Weah reiterated his determination to ensure that something is immediately done to reduce the price of rice and make it affordable and available to average Liberians.
At the end of the negotiations, officials of the association through the chair, John Bestman, consented to effect a reduction in the price of the 25Kg bag of rice by US$2, while the price of a 50kg bag of rice will be reduced by US $4 with immediate effect.
The meeting was attended by Nathaniel Falo McGill, Minister of State; Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance; Wilson K. Tarpeh, Minister of Commerce-designate; Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information; and Archie Bernard, Legal Advisor to the President.