Authorities of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and some aggrieved importers here have met behind closed door, amidst reported threat to protest against Deputy Commerce Minister Stephen Marvie’s alleged decision to grant Import Permit Declaration or IPD exclusively to Abijoudi Company for the importation of frozen fish.
The meeting was held behind closed doors on Tuesday, 28 February in the conference room of the ministry on Ashmum Street in Monrovia.
This paper has received report, indicating that some aggrieved importers, including both local and foreign business people involved in the importation of frozen foods were threatening to shut down in protest against the exclusive IPD right granted to Frozen Food, a company own by the Abijoudi Company. The Abijoudis are said to enjoy good relationship with the first family.
Sources hinted this paper that the meeting was called to address concerns held by some importers that Minister Marvie has allegedly been marginalizing in favor of Abijoudi.
Efforts by this paper to get outcome of the meeting did not succeed as officials of the Ministry insisted that the forum was not opened to the public, neither the press.
The head of public affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Mr. Mitchell Jones told this paper that the meeting was not opened to the public. Without being specific about which of the Ministers he was referring to, Mr. Jones only said, “The Minister will transmit the outcome to the public through the means of press release”.
This paper had earlier tried to speak with Commerce Minister Axel Addy, as he approached his car outside the Ministry, but he did not grant any audience.
Some of the business representatives that attended the meeting said they “were given green light”, but they all declined further comments on record or be identified, they walked away, rather suggesting that this paper speaks with officials of the Ministry.
Liberians and Indian businessmen were seen coming outside of the Ministry and chatting in small groups after the meeting, but none of them was willing to give further details. Editing by Jonathan Browne