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Commerce Ministry issues 30-day ultimatum

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The Liberian government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), has issued a 30-day ultimatum to non-Liberian owners of used clothes businesses across the country to regularize such business establishments or face full weight of the law.

The operation of used clothes is one of the businesses exclusively set aside for Liberians under the Liberianization Policy.

A release issued by the Commerce Ministry says as part of ongoing national efforts to ensure that such category of business returns into the hands of Liberian citizens, non-Liberians who are involved in the used clothes industry of the country have up to end of September, 2020 to disengage.

The decision by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was announced recently during a meeting with businesses that are involved in the Liberian used clothes industry.

During the meeting, Commerce and Industry Minister, Wilson K. Tarpeh, noted that the Ministry is determined to ensure that Liberians become active participants in the country’s economy by creating the necessary operating environment.

Prof. Tarpeh told the gathering that the Commerce Ministry will leave no stone unturned in making sure that President George Manneh Weah’s pledge to make Liberians active stakeholders in their own economy is realized through appropriate steps.

Minister Tarpeh, who was buttressed by Deputy Commerce Minister for Trade Services, A. E. Nyema Wisner and Deputy Commerce Minister for Industry, George Wolo, said as part of measures leading to the regularization of used clothes businesses in the hands of non-Liberians, all complaints arising from transactions among customers and used clothes wholesale dealers will now be accompanied by receipts before the Commerce Ministry will look into them.

The Ministry therefore instructed that as of the date of the meeting, ( Wednesday, August 26, 2020), used clothes dealers should begin issuing receipts to customers and indicate the price of the item, weight and grade of the clothes.

The Ministry also called on used clothes dealers to put an end to the use of middlemen, a situation that most often brings about misunderstanding among them and their customers, especially, when looking into returns-related complaints from retailers who sometimes feel aggrieved “for not getting the worth of their money” after or during transactions.

In line with decisions reached at the meeting, used clothes business owners are to undertake massive awareness through appropriate means, concerning the need for customers to stop doing business with individuals who are found at the entrance of their business houses, playing the role of middlemen.

The Commerce Ministry officials further noted that the CDC-led Government, upon its inception, has been handling the issue of the Liberianization Policy with care, considering the complex nature of the Liberian business environment, adding that the time has come for non-Liberians to face out.

“What we want to see as a government is 100% Liberian ownership and we remain determined to achieve this,” emphasized Commerce Minister Tarpeh.

The Ministry equally warned Liberians against collaborating with aliens and foreigners to undermine the Liberianization Policy, meant to help them play key role in the economy of the country.

The meeting held with both Liberians and non-Liberians involved in the used clothes business was graced by more than 20 participants, with many of them pledging to collaborate with the Commerce Ministry in finding solution to challenges in the business sector.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is continuing with its consultative engagements with various segments of the local business community until all businesses exclusively set aside in the Liberianization Policy are regularized in line with ongoing efforts to make Liberians active participants in the economy through the enabling environment.

As part of these national efforts, a bill known as Piercing the Corporate Veil is underway to criminalize fronting in the Liberian society. Press Release

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