Weah trashes report of rice scarcity
-Terms it news in the streets
By Emmanuel wise Jipoh
President George Manneh Weah has thrashed the current scarcity of rice on the Liberian market, the country’s stable terming the information upon arrival here from the 77th United Nations General Assembly as “news in the street.”
Distributors and retailers have been encountering difficulties for the past two to three weeks in buying rice from wholesalers, who demand distributors to buy other items before being served due to scarcity that has led price to skyrocket from the official retail price of US$13.00 or its equivalent of 2,250 Liberian Dollars for a 25kg bag to about US$25 or nearly 4,000 Liberian Dollars.
But addressing the matter on Monday, 26 September immediately after touching down at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County, President Weah dismissed news of rice shortage in the country, cautioning citizens not to be carried away by “news in the street.”
He urges Liberians to keep calm and promises to verify the information that has become a rising concern to the public.
Mr. Weah reassures the Liberian public there’s sufficient rice in the country that will last until next year.
At the same time, he says government will work closely with importers to resolve the rising concern of shortage of the stable that is dubbed as a political commodity in Liberia.
On April 14, 1979, an infamous rice riot in Monrovia turned bloody with bodies littered in the streets and properties valued at millions of dollars destroyed under the administration of late William R. Tolbert, Jr. The crisis led the late President to invite troops from neighboring Guinea to help restore calm.
However, President Weah, who had earlier vowed months back that under his Presidency, there would be no rice shortage, says he will visit various warehouses at the Freeport of Monrovia to verify whether there’s shortage in the country and to find means of addressing it.
“We continue our efforts to resolve the issues; this issue is not the first time and I was told the last time when I visited the Freeport of Monrovia that rice is in the country and can serve the population up till next year. However, where there is smoke, there is fire, so I will make some interventions with another visitation to the Freeport and other warehouses in the country to verify whether there’s shortage and we can resolve it”, Mr. Weah maintains.
Meanwhile, President Weah strongly reacts to critics, terming as false and misleading, information that he and his official delegation were restricted while in the United States for the 77th UNGA.
Reports had it here that the President and entourage were restricted by the United States Government upon their arrival, but the President says the news is far from the reality, saying “My dog and ballon D’or award were not at the headquarters of the United Nations; rather, at my home, so it tells you that I was home and was not restricted.” Editing by Jonathan Browne