The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) Wilson Tarpeh yesterday led a team of Commerce inspectors to central Monrovia in accordance to a regular one-month inspection of businesses.
“We are beginning a process that you are familiar with. We are to ensure that the quality of goods and services that are in the commerce of this country meet the minimum standard and are affordable,” Minister Tarpeh said.
According to him, the exercise is intended to expand what the ministry has been doing over the years.
Minister Tarpeh said inspectors will focus on Business Registration Enforcement, General Commodity Standard Inspection, Market Surveillance and Price Monitoring, Liquor Regulation Enforcement, General Market Standard Training, Investment Code Enforcement and Price Tag Enforcement.
“The Meteorology Division at the National Standards Laboratory will be carrying out the Bureau of Industrial Services Quarterly verification exercises involving scale on weights and measures at all establishments where relevant, including supermarkets, butchery shops and filling stations among others,” Minister Tarpeh said.
Based on the mandate given by President George M. Weah, Minister Tarpeh said, “We need to make sure that Liberians come into the mainstream, thereby leaving from the spectators’ bench.”
To address it, Minister Tarpeh said, “We must be able to provide capacity for Liberian businesses first and give them the ability to manage workshops and give them access to funding. We already have the account opened and signed. President Weah has been generous by making available the first one million dollars.”
He said the Commerce Ministry has taken some steps to move Liberian businesses into the mainstream, including the protection of Liberian-owned businesses particularly the Liberia Water Producers Association.
“We have now signed the appropriate accords that ensured the selling of water products to only Liberians,” he said.
According to him, there are over five hundred water companies across the country, but with less than one hundred and fifty registered companies.
He also told inspectors to ensure that those who continue to renege on registration are pressed to register or pull out of business to safeguard those who have registered.
According to him, the industrial policy of the ministry requires among many things that a factory be confined to a special economic zone, which is to provide special incentives for people who are manufacturing.
Minister Tarpeh noted that Liberia has been turned into a graciously trading post, where businesses are involved in buying and selling.
“We want to be able to engage in manufacturing. We have taken that position to ensure that all of the manufacturing within Monrovia is confined to the Monrovia Industrial Park,” Minister Tarpeh said.
He said there is a nine hundred acres of special economic zone in Buchanan and will take similar step shortly after the survey.
To realize it, Minister Tarpeh said, “We are bringing in public-private partnership and bring in individuals who will develop the special economic zone in line with procurement policy.”
Minister Tarpeh noted that he is confident that the inspectorate team would do a good job for the ministry and the people of Liberia.