3 February 2014

Liberia: House Targets Commerce Boss, BIVAC, Others

Photo: Liberia Government
Members of the Liberian cabinet (File Photo)

Monrovia — The Minister of Commerce and Industry could be the next economic manager on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's economic management team that may face the National legislature as the Liberian economy continues to signal unbearable features.

The Minister may fall in trouble soon for the lack of price control and the flooding of the Liberia market with substandard goods.

The Minister of commerce would be summoned to appear before the House after Committee on Commerce reports to plenary the state of trade and commerce in the country.

Already, Central bank Governor Mills Jones was the first to face the Senate on the State of the national economy, especially when it comes to the money market; then Finance Minister Amara Konneh who also face the senate early this year to explain the state of the economy in the wake of the depreciating value of the Liberian dollar against the United state dollar which has caused obvious inflation, and now the lower House is contemplating on calling the Minister of Commerce to explain why there appears to be no price control and why substandard goods have flooded the Liberian market.

Also to face the House's Plenary would be BIVAC pre-shipment inspectorate, the Liberia Chambers of Commerce among others, who should appear before that august body to clarify the influx of poor quality goods on the Liberian Market in the face of the absence of price control.

This development is a result of a letter by Grand Kru County District #2 Representative Numene T.H. Bartekwa, who complained against the flow of poor quality and substandard goods, such as used cars, zincs, steel rod, frozen foods among others, on the market. The Grand kru Representative also complained against what he sees as the lack of price control among other market problems that have plunged Liberians into hardship. The Grand Kru Representative wants prices of basic goods and services controlled before its goes out of hand in the country.

Following debate among representatives, the House Plenary voted that the House Committee on Commerce looks into Rep. Bartekwa's concerns within in a week and report to Plenary as well as advice plenary on whether the Minister of Commerce, BIVAC, Liberia Chambers of Commerce among others should appear before that august body.

In his communication dated January 28, 2014 followed by his debate in plenary recently, Rep. Bartekwa told his colleagues that every business entity that operates in the country appears to be doing so without any form of control system or regulation, thus imposing extreme difficulties on the consuming public with the ordinary people being the most victims.

The situation, the Grand Kru County lawmaker and Chairman on the House Committee on Post and Telecommunication indicated, has reached an exacerbated point, especially in the face of the current uncontrollable increased in the exchanged rate between the Liberian dollar and the United States dollar.

Rep. Bartekwa stated that investigation conducted by him shows that the Ministry of Commerce has failed to uphold its mandate to maintaining its inspectors on the field to countercheck goods and products brought on the Liberian Market.

The lack of monitoring by the Ministry of Commerce, the Grand Kru County lawmaker observed, constitutes one of the major factors responsible for the lack of price control and the inflow of sub-standard goods on the market, thus causing citizens to live at the mercy of the business people in Liberia.

Since their returned from constituency break, members of the national legislature in both Houses of Representatives and of Senate have been making all efforts to ensure that the ailing Liberian economy is stabilized. The lower House is concerned with stabilizing the prices of various commodities in the country with ensuring quality good on the market while the Senate has been concentrating on disparities on the parallel money market amongst others.

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