As Inspector General, Josephine Davis warns against profiteering
Amid recent reports circulating in some quarters of the Liberian society that there is a shortage of rice on the Liberian market, several key importers of the commodity say The have a huge quantity in stock for the next four to five months.
Speaking to reporters during a media tour on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the Freeport of Monrovia, major importers including United Commodity Incorporated (UCI), Fouani Brothers, Fouta Corporation and Supplying West Africa Trade Incorporated (SWAT), told journalists that there is a huge quantity of rice in town.
Jointly, there is a total quantity of 34,000 metric tons (1.4 million bags) that have just arrived on board the Ocean Falcon through the order of three of the importers; UCI, Fouani and Fouta.
According to them, there was already a huge quantity in stock prior to the arrival of the ship that has docked at the National Port Authority (NPA).
They noted that the current quantity plus the one being offloaded would last for the next six months, while more consignments are on the way coming.
“There is enough rice here. All the warehouses are filled with rice and there are more on the way coming,” said Josiah Grando, Warehouse Manager of Fouta Corporation.
Grando noted that the prices of the commodity have not changed at the Freeport of Monrovia by importers, noting that any dealer(s) selling at a high price is doing so just to exploit ordinary Liberians.
“We still sell the rice at US$13 per bag to the dealers and so there is no need to sell at high prices. This is not fair to our people; people should not make use of situation to exploit people,” said the Fouta warehouse manager.
Also speaking to the media, Ali M. Jichi, Warehouse Manager of Fouani Brothers, said the entity has a quantity of rice that would last from now to July prior to the arrival of the new goods.
“On that ship, we have a total of 15,000 metric tons of rice that is being offloaded. As you can see, we already had enough in stock before this new product arrived,” Jichi asserted.
“Any news that there is no rice in the country is just a mere rumor. I think the people are in a hurry to buy because of the rumors and in the end, they purchase at a very high rate,” Jichi explained.
Another importer, the United Commodity Incorporated (UCI) through its Operations and Human Resource Manager Mr. Thomas N. Katiah, also said that there is a huge stockpile of rice.
Thomas stated that with the current quantity on the ground and the new consignment that has just arrived, there is no need for fear or worry.
“The rice we have will go a very long way. We have enough rice available,” added the UCI operations and Human Resource Manager.
Like others, Attiah Attiah, Warehouse Manager of Supplying West Africa Trade Incorporated (SWAT) indicated that there is no need to panic.
Meanwhile, on the heels of the testimonies provided by the major importers, Liberia’s Inspector General, Madam Josephine W.A. Davis, warned against unscrupulous business people against exploiting Liberians on grounds that there is a shortage of rice in the market.
“We brought you here so that you can see it yourself. We want to tell you that there is enough rice, and so no one should exploit our people,” Madam Davis pointed out.
“Our society is so gullible to the point that people can just believe any gossip that pops up. We have placed inspectors in the streets to check the prices of rice on the market. As I speak to you, we have already closed about seven stores. Let me also warn those business people out there, you will be dealt with if you don’t do the right thing. If possible we will revoke your license,” she warned.