Senate Seeks Answers Over Rice Availability

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate wants President George Manneh Weah to provide answers as to who had advised him that there was sufficient rice in the country.

It has therefore mandated Liberia’s Commerce Minister Madam Mawine Diggs to ask President Weah about his source of information regarding the sufficiency of the nation’s staple food amidst its sustained scarcity and high price.

The Senators’ inquiry with Minister Diggs comes one month after President Weah rejected reports about the scarcity of rice upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly, saying it was “news in the street.”

The Senate Plenary has mandated Madam Diggs to give Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie feedback surrounding its mandate.

The Liberian Senate has also resolved that Minister Diggs should remain under oath to submit to the Committees on Public Accounts & Audits and Ways, Means, Finance & Budget all relevant documents relative to the rice subsidy and the expenditure of the US$15.5 million.

This decision was reached as a result of her appearance before the Liberian Senate.

Her appearance followed a communication from Senator Jonathan L. Kaipay who had requested that she face a “Committee of a Whole” relative to the troubling development surrounding the shortage of the nation’s staple food.

The ongoing rice crisis in its early stages witnessed distributors put pressure on retailers and other consumers to buy unwanted items as preconditions to being allowed to purchase rice.

The price of rice rose far beyond its official retail price of LRD$2,250 for a 25kg bag at the time to LRD$4,000 or more in some places, but the administration continued to deny its shortage.

President Weah dismissed the news of the rice shortage and insisted that there was sufficient rice in the country. He urged Liberians to keep calm and promised to verify the information.

But the matter seems to persist despite the president’s assurances.

By: Emmanuel Toe

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