MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has issued an executive order suspending tariffs on 40 agriculture products and machinery as of Wednesday, August 14.
Those products include live animals for breeding, fertilizers, tractors, and seeds.
The decision, according to Executive Order 97, is in line with the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which seeks to promote a stable microeconomic growth, greater competitiveness, and diversification of the economy.
The order also said the move was part of the efforts of the government and its international partners to boost the agricultural sector by working with key market players to make agriculture for affordable for farmers, through farm development and management, good agricultural practices, training, and enabling legislation that would boost agriculture output.
“Whereas, in keeping with this development initiative, the findings of local and international partners in the agricultural sector and its own internal review, it has reached the government that the tariffs associated with agriculture inputs are high; thus affecting the agricultural sector adversely and poor rural farmers who rely predominantly on agriculture for their livelihood,” the order read.
Weah’s executive order noted that the government realizes that the causal effect of the high tariffs on the agriculture sector and livelihood of rural farmers contravenes its development agenda.
The administration is hoping that by lowering tariffs associated with the importation of agricultural inputs, the inputs of agro-distributors would increase, while the costs of agricultural inputs to farmers would also reduce. It also hopes farmers will be able to access high-quality agriculture inputs at affordable prices, improve their productivity, and make their activities more commercially viable.
The government expressed hope that the reduced tariffs would allow Liberia to get closer to “achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2 of ending hunger, improved nutrition, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture.”
The executive order will last for one year and can be renewed by the president.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, in consultation with the Agriculture Ministry and the Liberia Revenue Authority, have been authorized to establish the processes and procedures for granting tax exemptions to eligible beneficiaries in the agriculture sector.
According to the order, importers of agricultural inputs would be required to pay only Custom Users Fees and fees mandated by the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah