Liberia: Hike in Commodity, Transportation Costs in Sinoe Due to Bad Roads

Greenville — Citizens in Sinoe County are facing series of challenges, especially regarding cost of transportation and basic commodities, due to the deplorable condition of the coastal highway leading to the southeastern region of the country.

People travelling to the area have to stay for at least three days in commercial vehicles before getting to their destinations, with passengers travelling from Maryland and Sinoe counties to Monrovia paying thousands of Liberian dollars as transportation fare.

Local business people told the Liberia News Agency in Greenville that they are forced, as a result of the bad road condition, to increase the prices of commodities as commercial vehicle owners charge high fares to transport goods into the county.

Madam Marie Johnson, a local businesswoman in the Sinoe gold mine in Government Camp, said the high cost of transporting goods to the county due to the bad road, is creating serious problems for them.

"The business we do now is just from hand-to-mouth my son; we cannot even understand our business money any more. Car owners are charging L$13,000 for a single person; and L$5,000 for one carton of goods.

"Now, tell me what really we are getting as profit? Nothing at all, we are appealing to the government to do something about the road from Buchanan to Harper, we are facing difficulty," she lamented.

In Sinoe County basic commodities like rice, gasoline and oil are sold at higher prices. Currently a 25kg bag of rice is sold for 4,700 Liberian dollars, instead of the previous price of L$3,800, while a gallon of gasoline costs 800.00 Liberian dollar, instead of the usual $565 Liberian dollars.

The price increase is a serious challenge for locals in this region, as many who cannot afford to purchase at the high prices have no alternative but to beg for alms from those who can afford.

Local residents have stressed the need for central government to do something about the road leading to the southeast.

Providing his views on the numerous challenges facing locals as a result of the bad road condition in the region, activist Terry Panyonneh in Sinoe County called on members of the National Legislature from the Southeast to engage the Ministry of Public Works to at least place three yellow machines on the major highways so as to ease the suffering of commercial drivers and their passengers.

"Despite the many challenges facing the government, I think it is necessary for the Ministry of Public Works to put some heavy machines on the Buchanan-Sinoe-Grand Kru to Maryland highways to maintain the road, while the government is preparing for the rehabilitation of the southeastern roads," he said.

In recent times, the Sinoe County Legislative Caucus Chairman, Rep. Crayton Oman Duncan, announced central government's plan to maintain the southeastern road, but it is yet to come to fruition due to budgetary constraint.

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