LIBERIA: Public Concern Mounts Over Acquisition of IPD

Commerce and Industry Minister Mawine G. Diggs

Public concern is mounting over what has been described as a major bottleneck at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in obtaining the much talked about Import Permit Declaration (IPD) by business people in the country.

One needs an IPD in order to import goods into country as well as discharges them from the Free Port of Monrovia, which is referred to as the gateway to Liberia’s Economic.

 As a result of the reported bureaucracy in obtaining the IPD, most, if not all of the business people, are said to be finding it extremely difficult to import more goods into the country, thereby seriously underpinning their overall business operations.

What is most disappointing and frustration is that when the goods are imported, getting them from the Free Port of Monrovia, is a complete nightmare, as there is a serious barrier at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in getting IPD.

The reported bottleneck at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has been attributed to alleged “vested interests” by “some higher-ups” at the Ministry in favor of some business people at the detriment of majority business people and by extension the impoverished masses, who can hardly afford their daily meal.

Several Liberians, mainly retailers, who phoned in on a local radio program in Monrovia on Thursday, August 20, 2021, expressed outrage over the escalation of prices of basic commodities, specifically frozen goods, blamed the situation on the scarcity of   key commodities on the local market. 

“As I speak to you, there are many imported goods at the various warehouses at the Free Port of Monrovia, some of them are even getting rotten, simply because the business people, who imported them, are being denied IPD by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to get their goods out of the port,” asserted Miata Williams, a  dealer in frozen chicken at the densely populated Duala Market, outside Monrovia.

She continued: “In fact, most business people are operating on a loss because they are unable to get all of their goods out of the port least to mention about importing more goods to make them affordable and available on the local market. This is a serious problem, which needs to be urgently addressed by the government or else the ordinary people will continue bear the brunt of this wicked act for selfish motives.”

Her assertions were supported by several other callers who expressed disdain over the situation and urged authorities at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ensure that the acquisition of IPD is given fairly and not on a “selective” basis as in the current case.   

Although authorities at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry have persistently rejected claims that they usually issue IPD to selected business people for “vested interest”, multiple testimonies from several affected business people in the country prove the contrary.    

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