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GeneralLiberia news

Senators demand answers from Weah over rice

-Want Commerce Minister convey questions

By Ethel A Tweh

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate wants President George Manneh Weah to provide answers as to who had advised him that there was sufficient rice in the country.

It has therefore mandated Liberia’s Commerce Minister Madam Mawine Diggs to ask President Weah about his source of information regarding the sufficiency of the nation’s staple food amidst its sustained scarcity and high price.

The Senators’ inquiry with Minister Diggs comes one month after President Weah rejected reports about the scarcity of rice upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly, saying it was “news in the street.”

The Senate Plenary has mandated Madam Diggs to give Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie feedback surrounding its mandate.

The Liberian Senate has also resolved that Minister Diggs should remain under oath to submit to the Committees on Public Accounts & Audits and Ways, Means, Finance & Budget all relevant documents relative to the rice subsidy and the expenditure of the US$15.5 million.

This decision was reached as a result of her appearance before the Liberian Senate.

Her appearance followed a communication from Senator Jonathan L. Kaipay who had requested that she face a “Committee of a Whole” relative to the troubling development surrounding the shortage of the nation’s staple food.

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The ongoing rice crisis in its early stages witnessed distributors put pressure on retailers and other consumers to buy unwanted items as preconditions to being allowed to purchase rice.

The price of rice rose far beyond its official retail price of LRD$2,250 for a 25kg bag at the time to LRD$4,000 or more in some places, but the administration continued to deny its shortage.

President Weah dismissed the news of the rice shortage and insisted that there was sufficient rice in the country. He urged Liberians to keep calm and promised to verify the information.

But the matter seems to persist despite the president’s assurances.

In another development, the Plenary of the Liberian Senate has rejected excuses from the Ministers of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, and Agriculture, Jeanine M. Cooper.

The two Ministers were mandated to appear before the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, 1 November 2022 at noon to show the reason why they should not be held in contempt.

Plenary believes that the two Ministers, instead of sending excuses, should have instructed their principal deputies to appear on their behalf.

This decision came through a vote taken by Plenary after the Ministers’ letters of excuse were read stating that they both are out of the country. They asked that Plenary reschedule their appearances.  

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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