Non-Liberians Doing Used Clothes Business Get 30-Day Ultimatum

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Partial view of participants at meeting.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a 30-day ultimatum to non-Liberian owners of used clothes businesses across the country to regularize such business establishments or face the full weight of the law.

The operation of used clothes is one of the businesses exclusively set aside for Liberians under the Liberianization Policy.

As part of ongoing national efforts to ensure that such a category of business returns into the hands of Liberian citizens, non-Liberians who are involved in the used clothes industry of the country have up to the ending of September 2020 to fully phase out.

The decision by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was announced recently during a meeting with businesses that are involved in the Liberian used clothes industry.

During the well-attended meeting at the Commerce Ministry in Congo Town, Commerce and Industry Minister, Wilson K. Tarpeh, noted that the Ministry is determined to ensure that Liberians become active participants in the country’s economy by creating the necessary operating environment.

Prof. Tarpeh told the gathering that the Commerce Ministry will leave no stone unturned in making sure that President George Manneh Weah’s, pledge to make Liberian citizens active stakeholders in their own economy is realized through appropriate steps.

Minister Tarpeh who was buttressed by Deputy Commerce Minister for Trade Services, A. E. Nyema Wisner and Deputy Commerce Minister for Industry, George Wolo, said as part of measures leading to the regularization of used clothes businesses in the hands of non-Liberians, all complaints arising from transactions among customers and used clothes wholesale dealers will now be accompanied by receipts before the Commerce Ministry will look into them.

The Ministry, therefore, instructed that as of the date of the meeting, (Wednesday, August 26, 2020), used clothes dealers should begin issuing receipts to customers and indicate the price of the item, weight, and grade of the clothes.

The Ministry also called on used clothes dealers to put an end to the use of middlemen, a situation that most often brings about misunderstanding among them and their customers, especially, when looking into returns-related complaints from retailers who sometimes feel aggrieved “for not getting the worth of their money” after or during transactions.

In line with decisions reached the meeting, used clothes business owners are to undertake massive awareness through the appropriate means, concerning the need for customers to stop doing business with individuals who are found at the entrance of their business houses, playing the role of middlemen.

The Commerce Ministry officials further noted that the CDC-led Government, upon its inception, has been handling the issue of the Liberianization Policy with care, considering the complex nature of the Liberian business environment, adding that the time has come for non-Liberians to face out.

“What we want to see as a government is a 100% Liberian ownership and we remain determined to achieve this,” observed Commerce Minister Tarpeh, during the meeting.

The Ministry equally warned Liberians against collaborating with aliens and foreigners to undermine the Liberianization Policy, meant to help them play a key role in the economy of a dear country.

The Wednesday, August 26, 2020 meeting with both Liberians and non-Liberians involved in the country’s used clothes business was graced by more than 20 participants, with many of them pledging to collaborate with the commerce Ministry in finding a solution to challenges in the business sector.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is continuing with its consultative engagements with the various segments of the local business community until all businesses exclusively set aside in the Liberianization Policy are regularized in line with ongoing efforts to make Liberians active participants in the economy through the enabling environment.

As part of these national efforts, a bill known as Piercing the Corporate Veil is underway to criminalize fronting in the Liberian society.

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