Gov’t Reducing Tariffs is Essential
PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH Weah has mandated the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to reduce the high tariffs imposed on certain basic commodities imported into the country. This, indeed, is a laudable gesture.
IT SHOWS THAT PRESIDENT Weah is truly a man of his words and a man that did not come to betray the confidence reposed in him by the Liberian people when they massively voted for him on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) party in the country’s monumental General and presidential elections that took place on October 10, 2017 and in the December 7, 2017 presidential Rub-off election.INDEED PRESIDENT WEAH reducing tax on certain basic imported goods cannot go unnoticed as it is a hard decision to make. It is coming at a time of severe economic austerities meant to raise revenue to buttress the economy and the national budget and at a moment of donor fatigue and when Liberians can no longer rely on foreign loans and grants to salvage all their needs.
IT CAN BE RECALLED that few years ago, it was announced that Liberia’s traditional revenue earning means through the export of commodities for foreign exchange is in turmoil, as the value of iron ore and rubber from which the country reaps income for budgetary support has depreciated on the world market. In other words among few options that had remained open to the Liberian government included improving revenue generation through taxation and improving accountability and transparency in government to ensure donor confidence.
PRESIDENT WEAH’S HARD decision in favor of advancing the pro-poor agenda by reducing the high tariff imposed on basic goods entering the country is also coming at a time that the country has been set on a trajectory to develop road construction across the country, improve health, security, infrastructure and education sector.
THIS IS WHY THE PUBLIC AGENDA newspaper highly appreciates the magnanimous gesture of President Weah to order a reduction in tariffs, in his daily efforts to improve the living conditions of Liberians through government’s pro-poor agenda policy. The government appears keen on advancing the logic that Liberians no longer go to bed on an empty stomach through ensuring that rice is made available on the local market, and affordable and accessible to the vast majority of Liberians on the local market at reduced prices.
THIS IS BEING DONE by reducing tariffs government gets from bags of rice imported into the country. The high cost paid for petroleum products on the local market is indeed not a deliberate action of the government. It is often imposed by international situations posed by the world’s major petroleum exporting or OPEC countries, by limiting production for one reason or the other.
IT IS HOWEVER DISHEARTENING to note that what often happens in Liberia is that it is the unscrupulous businessmen and drivers that are not helping the situation, as they take advantage of the high cost they are paying for gallons of petrol or rice to engage in profiteering at the expense of the people.
THIS WHY WE ARE urging that as President Weah is trying to intervene on behalf of the people, by ensuring that policies that lead to price reductions are implemented, stakeholders such as rice and petrol retailers, transport owners and operators should see reason not to engage in exploiting the public through profiteering and other unwholesome and unpatriotic acts that undermines the process.