Small, Small Business People Cry for GOL Intervention
The Government of Liberia (GOL) has been urged to immediately institute practical steps to stop all categories of importers from doing retail sales nationwide.
In a tour of the three commercial districts of Monrovia and Paynesville recently, it was observed that most of the importers are heavily involved in retail sales of all categories of goods and wares that are found in wheelbarrows, market stalls and small shops.
Goods and wares seen been retailed by this reporter were umbrellas, sugar, flour, plastic dishes and many others that should be sold by Liberian retailers.
In interviews with some of the importers at the Waterside and Duala Markets, they argued that they have involved themselves in retail sales is a result of customers not reaching their stores and shops.
General Merchandise importer Armstrong L. Gonzalo, 55, of Red-light Market argued that Daily Observer Tuesday that if he did not do retail sales, goods in his warehouse would remain stockpiled for weeks and months.
Such a clarion call to restrict importers to wholesaling was reechoed recently by several Liberian retailers in separate interviews with the Daily Observer.
According to many of the retailers, importers that are actively involved in retail sales are bringing them to their knees. The retailers angrily pointed out that they will continue to encounter and endure financial hardships due to the involvement of importers in retailing.
The Liberian retailers also argued that as long as the importers continue to do retail sales at the various markets across the country, they will not excel iand the pro poor Agenda envisioned by the Liberian Government will become an illusion.
At Red-Light Market in Paynesville, retailer Cecelia Snorton Williams told the Daily Observer that the retailers want a saviour like a vigilant and practical Commerce Minister to deliver them from the shackles of financial oppression, hardship and humiliation at the hands of major importers in the country.
Mrs. Williams a retail dealer of slippers and plastic dishes at the Red-Light Market intimated that her financial difficulties are squarely blamed on the big importers of what she retails every week.
Mrs. Williams further claimed that even Chinese merchandise proprietors are at the very moment extensively involved in the retail of all categories of goods and wares on the Liberian market.
A Waterside Market of Monrovia retailer Francis D. Richardson, 42, stressed the need for the practical enforcement and implementation of the Liberianization policy initiated by past Liberian Governments.
“We have year in and year out cried and pleaded with outgoing and incoming ministers of Commerce and Industry to checkmate and stop the importers from doing retail business in our country,” Retailer Richardson lamented.
It may be recalled that twenty six (26) businesses had been set aside by previous Liberian Governments intended to be exclusively to be carried out by Liberians as forms of incentives for the socioeconomic empowerment of Liberians in the country.
For his part, a retailer at the Duala General Market on the Bushrod Island in Monrovia Joseph B. Kolliewala, 38, recommended that importers should be stopped due to the fact they (importers) are generating more profits than the ordinary Liberian retailers.
At the Rally Time Market on United Nations Drive in Monrovia, Monday, retailers in unison expressed shock and disappointment that many importers are involved in retail sales of all kinds of goods.
Some importers at the Rally Time Market in counter reactions told the Daily Observer that they are involved in retail sales owing to the fact nowadays; some Liberians are not financially potent to goods and wares on a wholesale basis.