The Minister of Commerce and Industry Professor Wilson Tarpeh, says the ministry has discovered an active and illegal practice in existence involving illicit issuance and manipulation of Import Permit Declaration (IPD) by local importers.
Professor Wilson told a news conference this week the scam is seriously reducing government revenues and also undermining the viability of local manufacturing companies in the country.
He said the illegal IPDs have resulted in the flooding of the local market with low quality flour, nails, chicken eggs, biscuits and other essential commodities with under-declared value, including smuggled flour, all of which are depriving government of legal revenues. The Minister added that many of the flour consignments are also being illegally brought in with expired ‘IPDs’
The Commerce boss disclosed that as part of the ministry’s determination to protect government revenues and support ‘job creating’ local enterprises, such as the two local flour milling corporations, as well as other local manufacturers, nails, biscuits, candies, insecticide and detergents, the public should take note immediately.
He said all outstanding flour IPDs, expired and unexpired, should be returned to the ministry for renewal and re-authenticated, where appropriate.
According to Minister Tarpeh, BIVAC is mandated to stop issuing any pre-shipment or destination inspection numbers or permits; noting that all legally issued and still valid IPDs which are not surrounded to the Ministry of Commerce within 10 working days from the date of the pronouncement will become automatically ‘voided’ and thereby cancelled.
He said hence, any such commodities entering the Port of Monrovia under such IPDs will be denied clearance in keeping with law.
Professor Tarpeh said inspectors from the ministry will begin a through and vigilant inspection of all documents relating to flour importation, including nails, biscuits, candies, insecticides and detergents, among others, and importers are required to have in their possession for review, copies of IPDs, BIVAC CRF, and evidence of paid Customs Duties.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has further warned that any business or businesses found to be illegally importing goods into Liberia or in breach of these administrative regulations, will be subject to serious penalties in accordance with law, which include, but not limited to, revocation of business registration.
The Ministry revealed that results from test conducted on pig products brought into the country by Cheaitou Brothers Incorporated, show the products contain harmful substances.
He added that in line with the ministry’s functions the importer has been invited to ensure the contaminated pig products are properly disposed off.
“If it is established that the company knowingly and willing imported the item here, the ministry will levy the necessary fines including one thousand United States dollars and business registration revoked by the government”, Minister Tarpeh concluded.
-Issues 10-day ultimatum to importers
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Editing by Jonathan Browne