The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) says it has begun arresting and imposing fines on individuals involved in hoarding rice and creating artificial shortage on the market.
It has been reported that Liberia’s staple food (rice) was out of the market. This has speedily resulted into the hike in price of the commodity.
However, Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh said what is happening on the market is artificial shortage.
“We don’t have a shortage. The shortage is artificial. At this time of the year, we usually have the average of nine to ten months of supply. But because of the COVID-19 disruption, factories were closed and the level has dropped between four to five months, yet we still have supply,” he said.
Some of those arrested are mainly Fula business people.
At the same time, Nimba County District five Representative, Samuel Kogar has joined the ministry in reechoing that there is no shortage of rice on the Liberian market.
Representative Kogar who chairs the House’s Committee on Commerce told legislative reporters that since the rumor of rice shortage came out; his committee has done inquiries and has realized that there is sufficient rice in the country contrary to news that the product has gone short on the market.
The Nimba County lawmaker said based on his inquiries, it has been established that retailers are responsible for the hike in the price of rice and not wholesalers.
According to him, the record of importers has it that there is a huge quantity of rice in Liberia and that the prices remain the same contrary to reports.