-Min. Tarpeh lauds Business community for adhering to price tag
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Wilson Tarpeh says the ministry in collaboration with the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) is to finalize all necessary requirements for the US$1 million loan for small businesses across the country.
Mr. Tarpeh made the disclosure on Wednesday at a news conference at the Commerce Ministry in Monrovia. “We want to be able to give US$1,000, US$2,000, and up to US$3,000 to petty traders with a minimum interest rate of 8 percent, while other banks and loan institutions give the interest rate of around 12 to 14 percent to businesses,” the Minister said.
According to him, the initiative aims to empower Liberian small businesses amid some of the challenges affecting them, including access to finance.
Mr. Tarpeh said President George Weah is more concerned about empowering Liberian small businesses, an initiative that all lieutenants of the President are committed to supporting.
“This money will not be for only Monrovia-based businesses. We will ensure that businesses in the rural areas also get access to the loan. There will a complete publicity about the loan that will enable businesses across the country to apply for it as well” Mr. Tarpeh indicated.
Commenting on the recent requests made by petroleum traders for the increment of petroleum products, Mr. Tarpeh said the ministry and along with the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) were pleased with the level of the negotiation.
“We are a responsible government and deem it necessary to sit on the table to discuss this important issue affecting this sector. Now, a petroleum retail price for a gallon of gasoline has increased from US$3.55 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of LD$540 to US$3.70 or its Liberian equivalent of LD580, while the retail pump price for a gallon of diesel fuel has also increased from US$3.70 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of $560 to US$3.95 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of LD615,” he said.
He said the prices in Liberian dollars were calculated using the Central Bank’s approved exchange rate of 1USD to LRD$156.
“On the road fund, the government is not prepared to negotiate that, because it was agreed upon to take effect in January 2016. They asked for the government to waive from January 2016 to July of 2018, but it is not possible,” Mr. Tarpeh said.
According to him, the government has decided to give dealers a reasonable period to allow them to pay, which will be concluded in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Mr. Tarpeh has lauded businesses for their compliance towards prices were agreed upon with the government.
Minister Tarpeh said the regulation aims to ensure that businesses are transparent in their transactions.
He further called on businesses to adhere to the publication of the price of their wares in both Liberian and United States dollars to avoid customers asking for prices of their goods.
“We want to ensure that the buyers do not ask for prices of goods in any supermarket and other business places within the commerce of Liberia. Again, since Liberia is in a dual currency regime, all our valued merchants are required to put their prices in both currencies [on] the goods or items,” Mr. Tarpeh said.