President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday, January 4, issued with immediate effect Executive Order Nos. 45 and 46, suspending tariffs on two of the country leading essential communities: rice and cement.
The Executive Mansion said Executive Order No. 45, titled "Extension of Executive Order No. 19, Suspension of Tariff on Rice," states that the Government of Liberia, in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public, is extending Executive Order No. 19, suspending the import tariff on rice as classified under tariff Nos. 1006.30.00 (in packing of more than 5kg or in bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packing of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act 2000 with immediate effect.
Explaining the suspension, the Executive Order states that the Government conducted an assessment and evaluation of the causes of increases in the price of strategic commodities, and recognized the need to curb the continuous increases in the price of rice, the country's staple, to make it affordable for public purchase.
Previous Executive Orders, Nos. 11 and 19 also suspended import tariff on rice to correct this particular situation.
Under Executive Order No. 46, titled "Re-Instituting the Suspension of the Protective Tariff on Cement," the Government, in the interest of national reconstruction and development, re-institutes a suspension of the US$2 protective tariff per 50kg bag of Portland cement imposed under the Revenue Code of Liberia, tariff No. 25.23.
To encourage the establishment of local industries to supply goods to the general public, the Government granted certain incentives to them, including CEMENCO, for the production of cement.
Under the earlier Executive Order No. 31, the Government re-imposed a suspension on the US$2 protective tariff, as required under the Revenue Code of Liberia tariff No. 25.23, for a 50kg bag of Portland cement used for construction.
Executive Order No. 31 has expired, the new Order states, but the need still exists to encourage local industries to supply cement to the general public at reasonable prices.
The Government also recognizes the need to protect the consuming public by mitigating the adverse effect from the global price increase in certain strategic commodities, including cement, the cost of which continues to rise on the market to the disadvantage of the consumers and the national reconstruction efforts.