“Rice Issue Is Complicated” -Commerce Minister Acknowledges By: Julius Konton

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The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Amin Modad, has admitted that rice issue in Liberia is complicated but not impossible to be addressed. Speaking at Day Two of the Cabinet Retreat, Minister Modad said the government is putting in place lots of strategies and measures in a move to have the issue addressed. The picture of rice,  he stated, is bad in Liberia especially when six major importers are foreigners. Minister Modad also   alleged and described as fallacy, that the past government worked to staple the price of rice issue for their last six years. According to him, importers wrote several letters to the past government to increase the price of rice to 20USD and even though the past government did not agree to such, the price, he disclosed, was increased from 14USD to 17USD respectively.  However, he said as part of new interventions by this government, they have given IPDs to three new importers; all Liberians, unlike before.  He further disclosed that the rice market is now opened to all, mainly Liberians and others who will meet up with the measures put in place by the government through the Commerce Ministry. ” There is no shortage of rice on the market and in fact, in next two weeks, rice will be in the Country and in additional weeks another batch of rice will arrive in the Country and it will serve the population for six months,” he further disclosed. On the other hand, the Commerce Minister stressed that there  will be choices on the local market, should the price of rice for some reasons  be  increased on the market.  In a drive to help address some of the complicated issues surrounding the rice sub sector, Minister Modad told his colleagues that there is a need to look at the rice issue critically and holistically and find a long term solutions, going forward.  He wants a plan to be  developed to look at price strategy as well as investing in local production.  Moreover, he called for the establishment of buffer stuck for rice including the establishment of value alternative center to help address the issue. He hastened to disclose that importers have agreed to give 200,000 to help in the establishment of value center for the country.  Minister Modad made these remarks during his presentation at Day Two of the Cabinet Retreat.

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