Weah Approves New Schedule to Reduce Tariff on Basic Commodities

MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has approved a new schedule to reduce tariffs on some basic imported commodities in the country.

According to a Ministry of Information release, the new schedule which takes immediate effect was submitted to Weah by the commissioner general of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Elfreda Tamba, in compliance with a mandate to do so within 72 hours.

Earlier, the office of the Presidential Press Secretary Sam Manneh said the president observed that the current tariff regime, including the ECOWAS Common External Tariff was a major cause of the hike in the cost of basic commodities in the country. The president noted that the situation adversely affects the poor.

According to the statement, the president also said the situation contravenes the idea of the pro-poor agenda.

The Information Ministry noted in the release that the reductions are in the range of 40 to 81 percent for more than 2,000 “widely consumed” commodities.

“Some of the reductions include pig feet (81 percent [reduction]); chicken feet (63 percent); vegetable oil (41 percent); onions (53 percent); used clothing (41 percent); and mosquito coil (65 percent) among others,” the release noted.

The government has not yet disclosed the full list of commodities the new tariffs would affect.

The statement noted further that the president has also mandated the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to urgently implement the current and proportionate reduction in the prices of the affected commodities, as a means of bringing relief to the “poor masses.”

“He warned that any business entity engaging in price hike and profiteering in the wake of the tariff reduction will bear the full weight of the law,” the statement said.

It said the government also disclosed that the new tariff regime meets all requirements of the law, including the amended ECOWAS Common External Tariff.

Featured photo courtesy of Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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