President George Manneh Weah has acknowledged the favorable response of rice importers to his request for reduction in the price of the nation's staple food. The rice importers have reduced the price of a 25kg bag by two United States Dollars while the price of a 50kg bag is reduced by US$4.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the welcoming news comes as a result of increased pressure on rice importers by President Weah who believes it is intolerable for the price of the national staple, to continue to increase amidst the high cost of living in the country.
President Weah and officials of the rice Importers Association, for the second day running, met Friday, February 2, 2018, to continue negotiations on the reduction of the price of rice. The discussions started Thursday, February 1, at which time the Liberian leader promised to do everything possible to ensure that the rice market price was reduced.
On Thursday, the President said: "If government-imposed tax is an issue, you can rest assured that my government is more than ready to grant reasonable adjustments in the tax regime to make the reduction of rice price possible."
During the Friday meeting with rice importers, President Weah reiterated his determination to ensure that something was immediately done to reduce the price of the rice and make it affordable and available to average Liberians.
At the end of the negotiations, officials of the Association of Liberian Rice Importers consented to effect a reduction of the price. The Association of Rice Importers headed by their Chairman, John Bestman, agreed to reduce the price of the 25Kg bag of rice by US $2.00 while the price of 50kg bag of rice will be reduced by US $4.00 with immediate effect.
The meeting was attended by Hon. Nathaniel Falo McGill, Minister of State, Hon. Samuel Tweah, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Minister of Commerce designate, Minister of Finance, Hon. Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, and Hon. Archie Bernard, Legal Advisor to the President.
President Weah has earlier proposed a reduction of US$3.00 but due to some constraints proffered by rice moguls, it was agreed that the US$3 reduction from the cost of a 25kg bag of rice would not be possible immediately, but that it could still be possible in the future once a few challenges facing the rice market were addressed and the modalities worked out.