Don’t Listen To Street Gossips’’ President Weah Tells Citizens as Rice Price Sky Rockets
Monrovia- As the country’s stable food suffers scarcity on the Liberian market, several local rice sellers have expressed frustration on how the commodity is being handled.
Speaking to K-news on Monday, the local rice sellers called on the government led by former soccer legend and now President, George Weah to take control of the situation before it goes out of hand.
Meanwhile hearing the news upon his return from the UN General Assembly, President George admonished Liberians not to build their thoughts on speculation from the streets in terms of gathering information on major concerns confronting the State.
‘’As far as my government is concerned; there is sufficient rice to serve the citizenry of the country contrary to speculation of rice shortage on our market’’ President Weah told Journalists upon his arrival from the 77th United Nations General Assembly. President Weah said that this is not the first time such news is being reported noting; the first time he visited major warehouses, it was confirmed by vendors that there is sufficient rice that will take the country up to next year and not those that want to say whatever they like.
“I don’t believe that there is rice scarcity, I believe that there is rice but where there is smoke, there is fire so we are going to verify for the second time’’ he assured.
He said his government is doing all it can to cater to the needs and wants of the citizens of Liberia. Currently, Liberians are spending hours buying a single bag of 25kg rice despite the hike in price from US$15 to about US$25 and above.
Amidst the public outcry for the Nation’s stable food, pundits believe that Weah, if not too immature to handle the Affairs of the State is unable to put the feet of his cabinets to fire in making sure that the prices of major commodities are at an affordable level for the already struggling masses.
Rice, Liberia’s political commodity
Since the April 14, 1979 rice riot, rice, the nation’s staple food has been seen as a political commodity. That the riots of 1979 were not because of the increase in the price of rice, rather it happened because it was suggested that imported rice would increase by US$1.00 and local rice with all stones in it, would remain the same, thereby providing options for consumers, said action subsequently led to an overthrown of a government.
All successive governments since then, have maneuvered to stabilize the price. Despite their commitment to support Agriculture to boost the production of the nation’s staple food locally, the country continues to spend millions on the importation of rice.
Fast forward to 2022, there have been mounting cries from Liberians regarding the price and scarcity of rice. Amid news of rice scarcity earlier this year, President Weah made a hasty visit to the Free Port of Monrovia and was assured of sufficient rice at the warehouses of major rice importers.
The Government then promised to provide subsidies and maintain the price at a flexible rate. But since then, importers have complained that the government has not fulfilled its promise and threatened to increase the price. True to their word, the price of rice has skyrocketed. Currently, a 25kg rice once sold for US$13 a month ago is now sold for US$24.
‘Weah is out of touch’
President Weah’s comments amid the spiraling price of rice on the Liberian market, have left critics fuming, saying heis totally out of touch with current reality with the very streets he’s asking the citizens not to listen to.
Whilst in actual reality this time, it is not the “They Say” that is pushing the crisis instead; it is the pockets of the breadwinners and the cries of hunger by those to be fed.