Rice Shortage Imminent; Marketers Cry Out

Despite denial by the Government of Liberia about shortage of rice on the market, the consuming public continues to experience difficulty in purachsing Liberia’s staple food.

The situation has prompted aggrieved rice dealers to stage a violent protest in Monrovia by setting road blocks amidst the growing wave of scarcity of rice on the local market.

The seeming rice shortage led to the blocking of the main entrances of two major rice importers, namely K & K and Fouta Corporation in Vai Town. The two rice importers have been accused of hoarding and creating artificial shortage of the commodity on the market. They are also accused of planning to increase the price of a bag of 25kg rice from US$13 to US$15.

The aggrieved marketers further accused the importers of receiving money in advance but refusing to supply them their rice.

As the situation stands, the search for rice in various shops, stores and other commercial places appears like a search for gold dust.

Marketers and customers are often seen moving from one trading center to another in search of rice.

However, the government of the Liberia through a press release signed by Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie has declared that the current stockpile in various warehouses amounts to 181.493 metric tonnes. The government spokesman added that this amounts to 7, 259,740 bags (Seven million, two-hundred and fifty-nine thousand, seven hundred and forty bags).

According to Minister Rennie, this current stockpile will last until September 12, 2022.

The statement by the Information Minister was prompted by the recent  confusion that erupted on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 between rice distributors and some marketers following the reported refusal of distributors to sell their products.

The misunderstanding stemmed from a small glitch in the distribution circle.

The government clarifies that it continues to ensure the stabilization of the market price of the Liberian staple in order to avoid an increment in the cost, although the price has gone up on the international market.

Meanwhile, the government urges politicians to avoid attempting to score political capital at the expense of the country’s hard-earned peace. It also calls on all Liberians to play their part in the maintenance of the democratic course the country is now on.

Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia has announced new adjustments in the market price of petroleum products on the Liberian market. It said the change is in keeping with the government’s promise to review the cost of the commodity in the country whenever the price changes on the international market.

Government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, announced on Friday, April 1, 2022, that the price of gasoline has been reduced by sixty-one U.S. cents, while diesel fuel is reduced by 53 U.S. cents.

The new costs of the products are therefore as follows:

Gasoline wholesale: U.S. $4.82

Gasoline retail: U.S.5.00/775LD

Diesel Fuel wholesale: U.S.5.29

Diesel Fuel retail: U.S. 5.47/850LD

The government informs the public that it will deploy inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce to ensure compliance with the new prices; they will also be tasked with monitoring the price circular in an effort to make sure importers and distributors do not undercut competitors and engage in profiteering.

The Government warns that any importer, distributor, or retailer selling above the designated price structure will face the full weight of the law.

 

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