MONROVIA-Amidst the high increase in the prices of rice on the Liberian market and in the face of varying information, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has called on the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to act swiftly in resolving the issue.
The situation has since caused panic as buyers including retailers and consumers spend longer times in queues at foreign warehouses/shops across the nation’s capital, Monrovia and its environs as well as in other parts of the country to be served.
At some points, buyers are being demanded to purchase another commodity before they are served.
As it stands, the price of a 25kb bag of rice has been hiked from US$13.00 to US$22.50 and US$25 respectively depending on the quality, thus causing increased economic difficulties for ordinary Liberians.
However, in the face of the continuing increase, President George M. Weah recently said he does not believe that there is a rice shortage in his country, noting that the news of rice scarcity on the Liberian market is street talk, but the reality on the ground proves different.
President Weah, in a remark, from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26, said, “We need to not just listen to the street talks. So I listened to them (importers). Not those that just want to say anything they want to say. I don’t listen to them. I believe that there is rice, we need to verify again.”
But on the heel of the President’s statement, evidence gathered shows that rice stock on the Liberian market is low as hundreds of people are seen standing at major distributor sites including Fouani Brothers in Vai Town in long queues to secure rice supply.
Meanwhile, Mr. Zoom Donzo, Public Relations Officer for the Rice Importers Association said that “Rice is limited in the country because importers are bringing in new goods.”
Accordingly, NCSCL in a press release issued in Monrovia on Sunday, October 2, 2022, called on the Liberian Government to act promptly in addressing the situation as many Liberians, who are living below the poverty line, are barely going to bed on empty stomach.
The council, which is the umbrella organization for all civil society organizations in the country, indicated that information that might have reached the President is far from reality grounds, and as such, there is an urgent need for fast and tangible government intervention to resolve the rice crisis.
“The National Civil Society Council of Liberia hereby calls on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to quickly intervene in this rice crisis because this is our staple food. Our people are already suffering and an increase in this commodity will cause more suffering for our people. Information given to our President is far from the actual story,” added the release.