Liberia: Commerce Crackdown On Profiteers in Nimba

The Ministry of Commerce, Nimba Inspectorate is cracking down on several business owners suspected of profiteering in the midst of the deadly Coronavirus which is ravaging the world.

In a recent action, the MoC confiscated and auctioned about 82 gallons of gasoline, because of what they termed as "profiteering of basic commodities."

In an interview with reporters in Ganta, Commerce Nimba Inspector Alphonso Miamen said the action was to deter those who hiking the prices of busy commodity in the county. He said the government wants to ensure that nobody uses the prevailing situation affecting the world to bring hardship on the people by profiteering.

He explained the Ministry of Commerce is keenly observing marketing activities, ensuring nobody inflate prices to the detriment of the people.

"We are checking on all pharmaceutical goods, assorted commodities, including rice, onions, petroleum products, vegetable oil among others, making sure that nobody increases prices," he said.

Some of the items confiscated and auctioned, include hand washing and medical gloves. He further declared that anyone selling washing buckets above L$1500 will be arrested and their goods auctioned.

The price of gasoline has gone up across Nimba, since mid last month, with a gallon of gas now being sold at L$ 1000, except Total and Aminata who are selling gas at L$ 685 and L$690 respectively.

Most of those, who are involved in the hiking of the price of gas are street vendors and some registered filling station owners.

However, the filling station owners in Ganta have expressed concern at the actions of the Commerce Inspector which they have described as harassment.

Mr. David Adonis Menlor, the proprietor of Ma. Queen Filling Station told this paper that the Ministry of Commerce is not protecting their interest or addressing itself to difficulties they are encountering in getting gas from dealers in Monrovia.

He said, since February this year they have been facing serious supply chain problems from LPRC.

"I paid for over 30k gallons, but I received 3000 and up to present I am yet to get the rest," he said.

He said all the goods they are selling were bought at US$ 4.00 for a gallon and they will not buy gas at $4 and sell it at L$ 650, because of the losses they are sure to experience. He further accused them Commerce of vandalizing his warehouses on the pretext of searching for hoarded gas, without having served him prior notice.

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