Destitute and frustrated Liberians are calling on authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Ministries of Commerce and Transport to say something about the devastating trend of the economy, which has led to rapid price increase of basic commodities thus, exacerbating hardship among ordinary citizens.
Last year, the Government of Liberia through the CBL set the official exchange rate at 150LRD for US$1.00, but the rate has climbed to 175LRD to US$1.00, leading to a dramatic increase in prices of basic commodities across the country.
Speaking in separate interviews with the New Dawn in Paynesville City, Waterside and Duala markets respectively, officials of the three market groups, including Used Clothes Dealers, Independent Wheelbarrow Association and Frozen Product Dealers, they lament that the continuous silence of the heads of these government institutions gives room for the current economic mess the country finds itself in today.
Jefferson Quaygba, Mrs. Decontee Mah-Manyan and Doris Cooper note that the Ministry of Transport earlier pronounced the price of a gallon of gasoline at LRD525 and a gallon fuel oil at LRD540, but these have automatically changed to LRD550 and LRD600, respectively.
They explain that these prices and exchange rates are much higher, depending on localities because those institutions responsible to stabilize the situation are playing blind eyes on the matter simply because it does not directly affect them.
They argue that instead of government being in control of the economic system, it is rather the business community that directly controls the economy while the government sits and watches.
They warn the situation could get worse and hit crisis proportion, if the three institutions mentioned do not take appropriate steps now to stabilize the economy and thereby alleviate the suffering of ordinary Liberians.
As the situation stands, a dollar scratch card is now being sold for LRD250 and a 25kg bag of rice sold for LRD3, 350 respectively in some counties, including River Cess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Nimba and Maryland, respectively at the detriment of ordinary citizens.By Emmanuel Mondaye –Editing by Jonathan Browne