House Probes Commerce Ministry

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Hike in the price of rice on the Liberian market has forced the House of Representatives to launch an immediate investigation.

Plenary on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 agreed to reduce itself to a single committee aimed at addressing the growing concern over the hike in the prices of rice and other basic commodities.

The House voted overwhelmingly to summon authorities of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to appear before that August Body on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Plenary demanded that Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy appear along with his support staff, Assistant Minister Stephen Marvie and Inspector General Macaetoh Wreh.

The House is deeply concerned over the sudden increase in the prices of basic commodities; an indication plenary believed is a “default on the part of the Ministry after assuring the general public of a stable economy as the country faces such national health emergency.”

According to Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood’s motion, the Ministry must be made to answer to inquiries surrounding “the increase, why there is any increase and what is the Ministry doing to remedy the situation.”

Lofa County Representative Moses Kollie’s letter prompted the probe. His communication sparked up serious debate on the floor of the House’s chamber.

During the deliberation, Capitol Hill seemed furious over the hike forcing few lawmakers to question donations from business entities to government’s Ebola fight.

“We have to be careful with some of these donations that are coming to government in the name of fighting Ebola,” Bong County Representative Adam Bill Corneh said.

He further indicated, “Business people always want to maximize profits. I believe that all the donations from these business people will have to be paid for indirectly by the suffering masses.”

Following the outbreak of the second wave of the Ebola virus disease, the government of Liberia announced that it was on top of things relative to controlling the economy to avoid encountering similar situation.

Different government functionaries including the Liberia National Police, Ministries of Transport and Commerce and Industry all announced that they were effective to respond to the hike in the prices of basic commodities and transport fares. Each warned violators of drastic measures.

Few weeks later, Commerce released the authorized price of rice at US$17 per 25kg bag. However, at the moment, importers of rice are selling it for US$20 for a bag of 25kg with little or nothing being done by the Ministry of Commerce to address the matter.

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