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Thursday, June 20, 2024

GOL INCREASES STAPLE FOOD PRICE AMID GLOBAL RICE MARKET TURMOIL

Date:

Monrovia, Liberia – The government of Liberia has announced an increase in the price of the country’s staple food, rice, from $16.50 to $18.50 per 25kg bag. This decision, made today, comes in response to a recent 20% import tax imposed by the Indian government, which has significantly impacted global rice prices.

The global rice market is currently facing potential turmoil following India’s decision to hike the surcharge on rice production. This move is expected to drive up the cost of rice worldwide, affecting economies heavily dependent on rice imports, such as Liberia.

In anticipation of these global price increases, the Liberian government swiftly engaged with major rice importers to stabilize the domestic market. Minister of Commerce Amin Modad conducted a crucial meeting with importers over the weekend to address the emerging crisis. The importers had initially requested a retail price hike to $20, up from the existing $17.50, citing the global economic situation and increased operational costs due to extended shipping routes and additional charges.

However, the Ministry of Commerce rejected this proposal, urging importers to avoid excessively burdening Liberian consumers. The government stood firm against the proposed $20 price for the 25kg Indian parboiled rice, despite importers’ concerns about the sustainability of their businesses under the current pricing structure.

This standoff is rooted in a history of price increase requests by rice importers. In October 2023, during President George Weah’s administration, importers sought to raise the price from $17.50 to $20. This request was deferred due to the political climate of the election period. The new administration faced a similar request in February, with importers citing reasons such as the newly imposed 20% surcharge and heightened transportation costs stemming from Middle Eastern conflicts.

Despite these pressures, Minister Modad appealed to importers to keep prices lower, recognizing rice’s critical role as a staple commodity. After intense negotiations, a compromise was reached to reduce the rice price to $16.50, with importers agreeing to invest in local rice production and ensure market stability until May. However, this agreement faced challenges when importers sought another price increase to $21 in mid-May, following an additional 4% Indian tariff hike.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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