2 May 2014

Liberia: Government Suspends Tax On Rice

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 61, suspending the import tariff on rice, and Executive Order No. 62, protecting whistleblowers in Liberia. The Executive Mansion says the two new Executive Orders are extensions of Executive Orders No. 45 and 43, respectively.

A press release issued by the Mansion says Executive Order No. 61, which took effect on April 26, states that the Government of Liberia in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public is 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 as amended.

The Executive Order furthered that the Government of Liberia had conducted an assessment and evaluation of the causes of increases in the price of strategic commodities and decided to initiate measures to ameliorate the situation. It noted that in furtherance of the findings of this assessment, Government recognized the need to curb the continuous increases in the price of rice, to make it affordable for public purchase.

As regards Executive Order No. 62, Protecting Whistleblowers here, President Sirleaf reiterated that corruption and other criminal conducts in public institutions and private organizations undermine democratic rule and good corporate governance, which in turn affect the interest of individuals and society, and lead to disaffection and instability.

She indicated that every person has a social responsibility to disclose and expose acts of corruption and other criminal conducts in an orderly manner and without prejudice to the security and general wellbeing of the person. The Liberian leader stressed that it is generally recognized that the needed disclosure of corruption and other criminal conduct will be advanced by appropriate laws that provide guidance for responsible disclosure and investigation of criminal conduct and also legal protection for person (s) making the disclosure.

President Sirleaf pointed out that as a Whistleblower Act is still pending before the Liberian Legislature, currently on recess, it is important to protect the Liberian society against continued acts of impropriety and other practices that will continue to seriously impact negatively upon the nation, and that effect be given to that concern, pending the enactment of the Whistleblower Act.

Executive Order No. 62 is to protect persons employed in both public and private institutions who disclose information about action against the public interest or good in any public or private institutions, unless otherwise provided by law, to allow individuals the right to take legal action in respect of retaliation; and related matters. The Executive Order took effect on April 26, 2014.

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