28 April 2017

Liberia: High Tariffs Affecting Movement of Goods At Liberia-Guinea Border

Slow movement of goods and services is being reported at one of Liberia's leading revenue-generating ports of entry, the border with Guinea at Ganta, Nimba County.

The movement of goods and services has reportedly been very slow since the beginning of the year, which a lot of business travelers say is a result of the high tariff imposed by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

Some of the businesspeople interviewed told the Daily Observer that the sharp increase in tariff by the government of Liberia is hampering trade.

"Before we were paying 15% on rubber dishes, but the tariff has gone up to 20% flat; and it is very hard to make profit from it," said a trader identified only as Serena.

"The tariff on soap used to be determined by the quantity in kilograms, but now it is strictly 20% of what you purchase," said another woman.

The border area has since been very quiet, according to traders, with some customs officers passing the time playing games on their computers and others seen doing extracurricular activities to keep busy.

Mondays and Thursdays are reportedly the busiest days at the border, when traders travel to the nearby Guinean towns of N'zérékoré and Djéké. But according to the businesspeople this paper spoke to, that is no longer the case.

The tariff on agricultural products, including cattle, livestock, groundnuts and pepper, among others, has also increased, according to a customs agent who did not want to be identified.

He said tariff on vehicles has been increased to 10% from 17%, and said people are not crossing with goods since the increase.

He named other tariffs to include the Custom Usual Fees (CUF), 1.5%; Government Services Tax (GST), 10%; and 0.5% ECOWAS tax on ECOWAS goods.

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