Liberia’s Minister of Justice has said the Liberian Government will ensure that business houses of the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) that will shut down Monday will remain closed until the government solves the problems facing the association.
Cllr. Fredrick Cherue Speaking on the “Truth Breakfast Show” Monday, said the Government is not going to coerce PATEL to open their stores but if they choose to close their stores today, they will remain closed.
Cherue also warned PATEL against forcing business owners who are not its members to close their business houses, warning that PATEL members doing so stand the risk of being arrested by the police.
He disclosed that the police have been instructed to patrol the main streets to give confidence to non-PATEL members wishing to open their business houses.
The Justice Minister’s statement comes in the wake of a recent communication from PATEL calling on its members across the country and all other business people to shut down their businesses on April 10, if their demands are not met by government.
The Minister believes that the action of PATEL to close their business is politically motivated and not business wise.
About a month ago, PATEL called on members of the business community to shut down their businesses in a bid to call on the government to address the growing economic hardship occasioned by high prices in basic commodities, the high exchange rate between the United States and Liberian dollars and increase in taxes on business owners.
Meanwhile, the Justice Minister is warning politicians allegedly behind the planned strike action to desist or they will face the full weight of the law when caught.
He added that “Liberia’s peace is fragile and as such, this act on the part of politicians has the tendency ignite chaos.”
It can be recalled that the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) in a press release recently, appealed to its members, business owners, individuals and associations to refrain from engaging in any forms of violent protests or demonstrations.
The LCC noted that though some of the concerns raised by PATEL are genuine, the leadership of the association should use dialogue with the government as the best option.