Minister Tarpeh Leads Business Inspection in Monrovia

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Minister Tarpeh on Broad Street during insepction yesterday along with deputy ministers and inspectors

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.

Inspectors in the audience with Minister Tarpeh shortly before their departure in the field

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.

Minister Tarpeh speaks to reporters in Monrovia yesterday before the field inspection

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8 COMMENTS

  1. What a mind-numbingly stupid waste of resources, with 10 people there helping with the inspection it looks more like a shake-down.
    If businesses are charging too much buyers will go elsewhere.
    If the goods aren’t up to scratch people will find out through social media and word of mouth and buyers will go elsewhere.
    Believe it or not FPA, Liberian newspapers also don’t need regular government inspections to ensure the news that they sell is up to government standards either.

    • It is a shake down of foreign owned business. None of this so called inspection is going to “ensure the quality of goods and service. But it will surely line the pockets of the commerce inspectors and their bosses. You can’t blame them for wanting to line their own pocket. What else to expect when you give a HANDFUL of people (commerce inspector) the POWER to “ensure quality” in the marketplace? Don’t you think they are going to use that POWER to their advantage???

  2. Sorry that should have been: “Believe it or not Daily Observer, Liberian newspapers also don’t need regular government inspections to ensure the news that they sell is up to government standards either.”

  3. I agree with you Andrew, this looks more like a “shakedown” than an inspection. What are they inspecting ? Do they have the expertise to determine whether an electronic product is fake or not ? It is however in the interest of the country to make sure busineses are registered, but in Liberia , this is a cat and mouse game!

    As for price monitoring, the root cause is the free port of Monrovia where there is rampant corruption. How could you monitor prices when you impose heavy duties on containers such that the vendor is left with no other option but to sell his goods expensive to the buyer? Attack the problem from the root! Not from the top!

  4. Inspection employing the services of highly trained staff is a must but it should not be conducted in a shakedown fashion with folks who appear to know little about the product being inspected. Keen attention should be paid to food quality , and oh, the “mineral water” industry in Liberia is a mess!

  5. Call me John Doe: “It is however in the interest of the country to make sure busineses are registered,”

    I can think of only one reason why businesses need to be registered, which is revenue gathering. With a better tax system even that reason would disappear.

    There are certainly occupations that might justifiably require registration with a trades or professions organization, but that’s somewhat different to a business registry.

  6. You guys sit on the fence and criticize without offering a solution to fix the problem. What’s your suggestions? Badmouthing will not help the cause be a solution to the problem.

  7. “You guys sit on the fence and criticize without offering a solution to fix the problem.”

    Define “the problem”, then I’ll offer solutions.

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