Liberia: Grand Gedeh Commerce Head Summons Rice Dealers Over Price Hike

Zwedru — The Senior Inspector for the Ministry of Commerce, Dede McClain, on July 14, 2021 summoned the business community, specifically rice dealers, to a meeting to ascertain reasons for a ' recent hike in rice price' on the local markets.

Stating the purpose of the meeting during the well-attended forum at the county Administration Building on Wednesday, McClain disclosed that attention has been drawn to the exponential rise in price for a 25kg bag of rice over a short time.

According to McClain, such attitude usually exhibited by business owners, especially in difficult times, is unacceptable and is a clever way of exploiting the suffering masses.

The Inspector questioned the business owners to show cause for such worrisome increase.

Addressing the request from the Commerce boss, Stephen Zohn, Chairman of Grand Gedeh Business Association, lauded the inspector for taking such actions by calling on the business owners to a discussion.

Zohn termed the action of the Inspector as timely.

However, the Business Chairman attributed the recent and uncontrollable hike in the price to huge constraints usually faced by business owners during the raining season.

He named cost of transportation, cost of uploading and offloading of goods from trucks, interruption in movement caused by bad road leading to hiring of additional vehicles along the road, among others.

"With all the challenges herein mentioned, we usually experience losses from goods damage, and accidents, among others.

Additionally, Zohn blamed those using the position of wholesalers who again engage in retailing and eventually affecting the price for those retailers.

He called on the county commerce officials to engage them accordingly so as to reduce the difficulties and challenges the business owners are undergoing.

"If they will supply us, they must allow us to buy from them and sell to keep our businesses going on," Zohn said.

He pleaded with the Inspector to grant them a one-week grace period to enable them meet, discuss and come out with a decision or workable solution which will be in the interest of the citizens, business owners and masses.

Meanwhile, Inspector McClain granted the request to allow for verification and proper understanding in the matter and revert back to the MOC.

A 25kg bag of rice was sold for L$2, 600 between January and June 2021; and is now sold for L$3,500.

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