The Ministry of Commerce and Industry under the current leadership of Professor Wilson Tarpeh has embarked on a vigorous inspection campaign on business houses to expose unscrupulous practices that endangering consumers’ lives.
In the past several weeks, inspection team from the ministry has inspected Abi Jiaudi, Monoprix and other supermarkets in Monrovia and discovered warehouses full of expired products being repackaged for sale to the public at the detriment of human lives.
The ministry was left with no alternative but to burn those expired products, including rotten chickens, chicken wings and feet as well as canned or processed food. Before this action, authorities of the Commerce Ministry had fined another business institution, Fuani Brothers Inc. for exorbitantly selling a cartoon of eggs at US$75.00 which was previously at US$$35.00.
These initial steps under the Tarpeh-led administration are no doubt revolutionizing the way commerce and trade had been done in the country. We agree with the new administration that things can’t be business usual.
For too long, unscrupulous business people have taken the Liberian consuming public for granted, supplying the market with unhealthy products. This seems to have become normal routine because previous administrations turned blind eyes or colluded with business houses for selfish motive.
The regulatory arm of the Commerce Ministry over the years had been a toothless bulldog, allowing heartless and unscrupulous individuals masquerading as business people to fill the market with substandard and expired products.
Worse still, they sell these commodities at exorbitantly, sometime twice the original price to our people, who are lured into believing that they are safe for consumption. This would cause serious health problem for the citizenry for the future.
We call on the new administration at the Commerce Ministry led by Professor Tarpeh to remain very vigilant and unwavering in cleaning up the sector. While we keep our economy for foreign investors, dubious business people should not be allowed to exploit the process at will.
We think the ministry should not just stop at burning expired and substandard goods, but fine those institutions involved or even close them down permanently to serve as deterrence to others contemplating on treading the same path.
Notwithstanding these initial steps by the ministry, more needs to be done by the government in making sure that products coming into this country for consumption meet the standards on the book, not only in saving lives but keeping unscrupulous business people in check so that this country would not be continuously taken for a ride.