To Reduce Prices Of Consumer Commodities… MPs Engage Trade Ministry

 

Members of Parliament on the Committee on Finance and Trade and Industry on Tuesday 28th August, 2018 engaged the Ministry of Trade and Industry on the reduction of prices of basic commodities.

 

In her opening statement at the Conference Room of the New Administrative Building of Parliament, the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Veronica K. Sesay said their engagement with the Trade and Industry Ministry is based on the desperation of the public to know the reasons behind the astronomical increase in the prices of basic commodities and the high foreign exchange rate against the local currency, Leone.

In his response, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Peter Bayuku Konteh emphasized that the Ministry is the engine of economic growth.  He explained that the recent rise in the prices of basic commodities is caused by the depreciation of the Leone against foreign currencies like the United States Dollar.

According to Mr. Peter B. Konteh, some businesspeople are taking advantage of the current situation to increase prices of goods and services. He also reminded the committee members of how the country imports more than it exports, thus leading to poor international trade balance.

The Trade Minister emphasized that the vision of President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio is to diversify the economy by prioritizing the development of diverse economic sectors like tourism, agriculture and the fisheries industry.

Mr. Konteh acknowledged the concerns of the committee members with regards the increase in the prices of basic commodities and outlined the various strides the Ministry has taken to salvage the situation, including the empowering of  trade monitoring teams to monitor the prices of essential commodities like rice and other food stuffs on the market.

He disclosed that the Trade Ministry is also planning to diversify fuel storage in different parts of the country, including district headquarters.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Rev. Abraham James Sesay-Jones confirmed to the committee that government has increased the demurrage period of imported goods from three to five working days, adding that the Ministry is effectively monitoring the reduction of prices of commodities like flour and beverages which taxes have been reduced under the ‘New Direction’ agenda.

Members of the two committees however advised the Trade Ministry to continue monitoring the reduction of prices of basic commodities which taxes have been reduced by the Bio administration. They also admonished the Ministry to discourage the black-marketing of the Dollar and encourage more investments into the economy.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Hon. Frances Kia Samba, advised the Ministry to double its efforts in tackling the problem of price increase and promised that the two committees would work with the Ministry to actualize the objectives of the ‘New Direction’ agenda.