The Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has banned the importation of nails, biscuits, and flour into the country.
The minister of commerce and industry Wilson Tarpeh made the assertion yesterday at a news conference in Monrovia, when he indicated that local companies were prepared to supply the market.
Minister Tarpeh said following an intensive investigation, the ministry discovered an active and illegal practice in existence involving the illicit issuance and/or manipulation of Import Permit Declaration (IPDs) by local importers, which is seriously reducing GoL’s revenues and undermining the visibility of local manufacturing companies.
According to Minister Tarpeh, these illegal IPDs have resulted in the flooding of goods on the local market with low quality, thereby impacting flour, nails, eggs, biscuits and other essential commodities; goods with under declared value as well as smuggled flour, all of which are depriving the government of legal revenue.
He noted that many of the imported flour are also being illegally brought in with expired IPDs.
“As part of the determination to protect government’s revenue and support job creation in the country, local enterprises, in this case the two local flour milling corporations, as well as other local manufacturers of nails, biscuits, candies, insecticides and detergents, and the public are informed that all outstanding flour IPDs, both expired and unexpired, should be returned to the ministry for renewal and re-authenticated where appropriate,” Minister Tarpeh said.
He further ordered BIVAC to stop issuing any pre-shipment or destination inspection numbers or permits. “All legally issued and still valid IPDs, which are not surrendered to the ministry of commerce within 10 working days from the date hereof, will become automatically void and hence canceled. Additionally, commodities entering the ports of Monrovia under such IPDs will be denied clearance,” Minister Tarpeh said.
He said inspectors from the ministry will begin a thorough inspection of all import and other documents relating to the flour importation as well as nails and other locally-manufactured items.
He said any business found to be illegally importing goods into Liberia or in breach of these administrative regulations will be subjected to serious penalties according to the law, including revocation of their business registration.