The Abi Jaoudi Supermarket has opened a new branch in Sinkor, the second-ever branch of the supermarket in Liberia since the company opened its headquarters on Randall Street in 1966.
The official opening of the Sinkor branch over the weekend was attended by top Liberian government officials and others including Labor Minister Moses Y. Kollie, Inspector-General of Commerce Josephine Davies, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia Christian Elder as well as business officials of the Abi Jaoudi Group of Companies, the parent company.
The Administrative Manager of Abi Jaoudi Group of Companies, Mr. Jason B. Weni, said the opening of the Sinkor branch of the Supermarket was not just for investment, but employment opportunities for Liberians as well. According to him, the Sinkor branch has initially employed over 50 Liberians.
He pointed out that the Abi Jaoudi Group of Companies also has plans to extend its investment into other parts of Liberia, noting that Montserrado County is not the entire Liberia.
“I am greatly impressed with this great deal of investment, and I am also excited that this occasion is being graced by members of the Liberian government. We want to move into other places,” Weni said.
“To our many customers, we encourage you to come and buy at very reasonable prices. We decided to drop the prices for people to come and get whatever they want at an affordable rate,” he added.
The new development comes several weeks after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, under the leadership of Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, uncovered warehouses full of food and non-food items that had expired as far back as March 2015, but which the company had yet to destroy. The Ministry’s initial attempts to inspect the warehouses were met with heavy resistance from the supermarket’s management.
Eventually the Commerce Ministry officials, led by Chief Inspector Josephine Davies, gained access to the facilities. The findings from said inspection exercise led the Ministry to levy a hefty US$75,000 fine on the supermarket, with a mandate to destroy all expired items in the company’s possession. In response to the Commerce Ministry’s action, the supermarket said in a statement that the main reason why the expired items had not been destroyed since 2016 was because its word-of-mouth requests to the Ministry to supervise the destruction of the expired items yielded no response.
However, in remarks at he program, Labour Minister, Mr. Moses Y. Kollie said the investment of Abi Jaoudi is in support of the country’s economy. He said the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government remains committed to providing the environment that will encourage investment, while at the same time protecting its citizens from being exploited in the labor market by investors.
“As a government, we want to encourage investors in this country so that they can build trust and confidence in us. As you may be aware, we serve as the referee to the labor sector. Therefore, we encourage the management to ensure those things that will enhance good relationships between management and employees,” added Minister Kollie.
The new Abi Jaoudi branch on the corner of 16th Street and Tubman Boulevard, Sinkor, is the former location of the ERA supermarket, which moved its headquarters near the Vamoma House Junction.