The sustained hike in transport fares and the recently imposed State of Emergency have dramatically restricted movement and depopulated Monrovia, according to statistics of a week-long survey by the Daily Observer.
The State of Emergency has, for the past week across the country, also relatively restricted the movement of food, other commodities and services.
Central Monrovia and its suburbs are classic examples of how greater Monrovia has depopulated dramatically for the past one and half weeks.
On top of that serious situation, the booming commercial activities in three of Monrovia’s commercial districts of Red-light, Duala and Waterside have dramatically dropped and prices of most critically needed commodities have sky rocketed.
Transport fares for many Monrovia and surrounding routes have dramatically increased despite Commerce Ministry prohibition, and commuters and businesspeople continue to bear the brunt of the socio-economic hardships.
Regrettably, essential food commodities that should be coming from rural Liberia have become so scarce that the average low income earners in Monrovia are being stretched to the limit.
Some unscrupulous small businesspeople are taking advantage of the grave situation and escalating locally produced food commodities on the Liberian market to the detriment of ordinary Liberians.
A week’s tour of the three major commercial districts in Monrovia revealed that prices of food and other commodities have tripled.
Prices of food commodities in the three highly populated markets are preventing low income earners from buying and this is making it difficult to afford decent meals for their families.
“This has led to genuine socio-economic belt-tightening and unbearable hardships in Ebola- stressed Liberia,” a political and economic commentator told the Daily Observer.
Commentator Jackson Smith Davis, 55, suggested that strategies intended to implement the current State of Emergency should consider the fact that critically needed food commodities must come to the urban markets.
“I must state quite frankly that the overstretched population cannot bear to cope with scarcity of critically needed food commodities, and this could generate to a full blown political and economic crisis [fueled by] resentment,” Mr. Davis cautioned.
“While the Liberian Government and partners are heavily preoccupied with fighting the deadly Ebola virus in the country, other problems, including starvation, continue to send some Liberians to their early graves,” Mr. Davis said.
A house wife of the Soul Clinic Community in Paynesville Tuesday told the Daily Observer that her every day trip to the Red-light Market to buy food has become a nightmare, as the prices of food commodities are indeed beyond reach.
Housewife Hawa Brown Washington also intimated that if the current trend continues unchecked by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, starvation may engulf many homes in Monrovia and its environs.
“I have seen many households going to bed without food owing to the unbearable escalation of food prices at the Red-light Market,” Mrs. Washington lamented.
“Even the measurement sizes of greens of all varieties have been reduced to the extent that LD$500 cannot prepare decent meal for a family of five in Monrovia,” Mrs. Washington asserted.
Since the official statement by the Liberian Government for immediate reduction in the prices of critically needed commodities such as rice and petroleum products, there has been an upsurge of prices of the same commodities in Monrovia and other parts of the country.