The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Rice Price Increasing, But…

By Alex Yomah

The price of Liberians’ staple food, rice has been skyrocketing on the local market in recent times thus causing impoverished citizens more untold hardships. There are already mounting outcries as the price of a 25kg bag of rice which was sold for L$2,800 or US$13.5 has swollen to L$3,700 during the coronavirus lockdown and the public has blamed this unprecedented hike to the government’s distribution of the long awaited economy stimulus package.
Our reporter who toured several rice stores over the weekend in Monrovia and surrounding markets including the Rally-Town Market, Waterside Market and rice stores, witnessed Liberians in queues to purchase rice apparently for safe keeping.
“The price of rice will increase if there is shortage of rice on the market. We are experiencing increase because we are told that the government bought more of the rice locally for the stimulus package,” a recognized business-guru who begged for anonymity told this paper.
But when contacted, the government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry denied reports that there is a shortage of rice on the Liberian market but could neither confirm nor deny whether or not government did purchase its rice locally.
The Ministry’s Communication manager, Jacob Parley, responding via mobile over the weekend said the government through the President did announce that the government was going to hire local businesses and international partners to purchase its economic stimulus package which is inclusive of rice as mean of empowering local businesses.
He said even if the government purchased rice from the local businesses, there should be no shortage of rice while noting that the inventory showed that there is enough food on the market that could go for at most three months.
“Our inventory showed that we have 40,000 metric tons of rice which is equivalent to 1.6 million bags of 25kg rice and besides, in this July, there is going to be 30 metric tons of rice worth 1.2 million that can supply the public for additional two months and out of the 30 metric tons of rice, 18,000 metric tons are expected between July 12-18. So there can be no shortage of rice,” Mr. Parley clarified.
Clarifying further, Jacob Parley said this year August, 55, 000 metric tons worth 2.2 million rice will be supplied on the market for four months therefore; any report of hike in price or shortage is artificial.
Parley said the price of a 25kg bag of rice still remains at $13.5 and is warning anyone involved in hiking the price to desist or they will be arrested and face the full weight of the law.

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