LIBERIA: Commerce Ministry Sends Caveat To Businesses

MoCI boss, Diggs

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has gathered, from consumers’ complaints and its market surveillances, reports about hiking of the prices of locally produced beverages, particularly Club Beer and Guinness Stout, by some business entities.

In line with constructive efforts aimed at swiftly addressing the matter, the Ministry has begun a robust investigation into the situation that is of serious concern and is therefore leaving no stone unturned to address the matter. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry strongly sees the reported hike in the prices of these locally produced beverages as unfair, considering its adverse effect on consumers.

An initial constructive engagement with the Management of the Monrovia Breweries, Inc., the sole producer of local breweries in the commerce of Liberia established that there was a shortage of water supply and exercises for the standardization and conformation assessment of its production lines three (3) weeks ago. However, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s investigation indicates that such exercise by the Monrovia Breweries Incorporated did not have any upward price effect on all the products manufactured and to be produced.

“We strongly believe that in as much as Monrovia Breweries Incorporated’s standardization process did not create any increment in the ex-factory prices of any of its manufactured products, there is equally no need for increment in the prices of these locally produced beverages, particularly Beer and Guinness Stout on the local market,”  a Commerce Ministry release says.

The release, under the signature of the Ministry’s Communications Director, Jacob N.B. Parley, notes that as the reported hiking of the prices of these items is progressively being looked into by the deployment of inspectors, the Commerce Ministry calls for an immediate halt to such practice.

According to the release, any distributor found hiking prices of Club Beer and Guinness Stout on the Liberian market will be punished in accordance with law.

Penalties for violation range from suspension, cancellation of business registration to revocation, as enshrined in Section 4.11. D of the General Business Law of the Republic, among other actions.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is encouraging the public to report any business found in said act, through its Consumers Protection Unit (CPU) or the Division of Public Affairs.

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