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Local group against granting too many rice import permits

The National Progressive Movement of Liberia (NPM), a local civil society organization says its attention has been drawn to the growing numbers of business people expressing interest in the importation of rice, who are requesting government’s authorization and permission.

The group says while it cherishes competition for the importation of basic commodities on the Liberian market, it is important to note that government must take due care in granting permission.

The organization is calling on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce to properly assess the financial potential of those desiring to import rice in Liberia.

Knowing that rice is a political commodity and do have a national security implication, the group warns that it would be risky for the government to gamble by just granting anybody the right to import rice.

It admonishes that the Ministry of Commerce needs to ensure that business people who are given import permits for rice have the financial capability and are
able to maintain a constant supply of rice on the market.

The NPM explains that the move of persons posing to engage in rice importation might cause the current importers to drop the quantity of rice being imported.

NPM furthers that if current importers drop in their importation and those that government want to import rice fail, it might worsen the current economic condition of the country.

NPM cautions that given that this government is new and it is in its formative stage, it is calling on the government to rethink its decision and cease granting permission to people for the importation of rice into Liberia.

The group says it is in no way trying to stop business people from venturing into the importation of rice, but argues that if care is not taken, Liberia might resort to the late 70s.

NPM says it wants government to cancel all permissions that may have been granted to individuals for the importation of rice on the Liberian Market. It claims that the current importers over the past 12 years have proven that they can regularly supply the Liberian market and are doing everything to support the President’s Pro-Poor agenda.

NPM warns that opening a floodgate for people to import rice without properly evaluating their financial standing will have a serious impact on government’s revenue generation.

It concludes that if President George Weah does not timely address this situation, it foresee shortage of rice on the market, thus leaving those potential business people to divert their course of business to different Sector. –Press release

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