By Mark S. Dahn/Nimba County Correspondent
GANTA-The Ministry of Commerce, through its local office in Nimba is warning scratch cards dealers in the county against what he terms as ‘profiteering.’
Profiteering is the process whereby an individual makes unreasonable profit not justified by the corresponding assumption of risk, or by doing so unethically.
Speaking to The New Republic Newspaper’s Nimba correspondent on Thursday, 28 January, the senior Commerce Inspector, Mr. Alphonso K.S. Miamen, said it is unfortunate that Liberians who are doing business will be so ‘unethical.’
He has vowed to descend on those involved in activity of such through punitive actions.
Mr. Miamen made specific reference to scratch cards dealers who he said are maximizing profits at the detriment of ordinary Liberians in Nimba County.
“It has come to our attention that the exchange rate in the country, the highest is LRD170; so now we are seeing them selling scratch cards to people publicly at the rate of LRD200.” The Commerce Inspector noted.
According to him, hike in prices of basic commodities across Liberia is not only unique to the country’s staple food, rice but it also goes down to scratch cards, which he says should not be so.
He disclosed that this time around the Ministry of Commerce inspection will not only be limited to commodities such as petroleum and rice, but scratch cards dealers will also be captured for inspection.
He asserted: “it is not only rice price that we will be embarking on; it is not only gas price.”
Inspector Miamen wants those involved with unnecessary increase of scratch cards prices to desist or risk their wrath.
The senior Commerce officer further indicated that he and his team of inspectors are prepared to go after anyone who is unauthorized and unethically increases the price of GSM scratch cards in the county.
He likened the behavior of scratch cards dealers throughout Liberia, with specific emphasis on Nimba where he controls as an act of ‘corruption.’
Due to the prevailing economic situation the country currently faces, which was created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miamen said he expects that scratch cards be sold for nothing more than LRD180.
“If people are changing for LRD170, and you sell one scratch card for at least LRD180, to look for LRD10 profit, it would be much better than selling LRD200 looking for LRD30 profit in people it will not be good,” he stressed.
This means that those making scratch cards business in the county have up to Friday, January 29 to properly adjust themselves as violator’s goods will be confiscated, and further charged for profiteering at the detriment of citizens in accordance with law.
According to him, the arbitrary increase in the price of GSM recharge cards has the proclivity to cause the death of an individual.
“Why if somebody is struggling that supposed to call his/her mother or father for certain things that happened and the person only have LRD185 for scratch card and you selling LRD200; at the particular minute the person is supposed to donate blood and within that period the balance LRD15 is not available, then the person dies,” he added.
Mr. Miamen seized the opportunity to announce about their upcoming quarterly inspections that will shortly commence in February.
He revealed that the inspections will allow them weed out unwholesome goods being sold on the Liberian market.
The Commerce Ministry local office in the county has been faced with series of challenges, but Miamen said he’s happy that there has been some progress made since he took over.
He succeeded the current Superintendent, Nelson Korquoi.
In spite of the constraints which he says they are gradually overcoming, Mr.Miamen assured Nimbaians that they will be rigorous in their operations this year.
He spoke on the campus of the Liberia International Christian College (LICC) when he had gone to identify with his religious institutions, United Liberia Inland Church.