Rice Price Goes Up! - Bryant Winds Up Hunger, Poverty
-Gets US $9 Per Bag


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

November 23, 2004

The FORUM, last weekend received credible information that the difficulty in controlling the price structure of the commodity is a result of the economic benefit (royalty) demanded by the Chairman of the Transitional Government, Charles Gyude Bryant.

Sources at the Executive Mansion and companies importing rice told this paper that the Chairman had requested that nine United States Dollars be added to the previous price of US $ 21 to enable the NTGL undertake a number of projects including the rehabilitation of roads and schools throughout the country.

According to our sources, an addition of US $1.50 goes to the Commerce Ministry as royalty, apart from taxes paid to government.

Our Executive Mansion source quoted Chairman Bryant in conversation with a few confidants as vowing to exert all efforts to ensure that he(Bryant) is economically capacitated following his two-year transitional leadership. He reportedly noted that he will not allow himself to be drawn into an unfavorable situation as it is in the case of other past transitional heads of state.

Importers of rice are said to be embarrassed by the current price inflation, owing to the blame that may be shifted to them by consumers.

Sources close to these companies said, the companies had refused on two separate occasions to sell the commodity in accordance with the Chairman’s request, but were threatened with contractual termination.
A number of government officials are reported to have cautioned Chairman Bryant against the decision considering its negative effect on the credibility of the NTGL, but the Chairman in reaction, boasted about the presence of UNMIL, warning against the repetition of the 1979 Rice Riot, whose instigators were “still around, and vowed to drastically deal with them should there be any attempt.”

Similar benefits are allegedly being accrued from the high increment in the prices of petroleum products, resulting to high transportation fares charged by commercial drivers, even at short distances.

One observer noted that the petroleum products are of the lowest grade in West Africa that should be sold far below the present prices.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.