Govt Suspends Tariffs On Rice and Other Commodities

President George Manneh Weah has issued two Executive Orders affecting critical national issues germane to the security and well-being of citizens. President on Friday, January 6, 2023, issued Executive Order #113 suspended the import tariff on rice, and Executive Order #114 established the West African Police Information System (WAPIS).

Executive Order #113 is in consideration of the expiration of Executive Order #105 and the government’s commitment to ensuring that the prices of certain basic commodities on the market are affordable, and do not impose an unnecessary burden on the citizens.

“Now, therefore, the government of Liberia in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public, hereby issues this Executive Order #113, suspending import tariff on rice as classified under tariff Nos 1005.30,00 (in packing of more than 5kg or bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packing of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act with immediate effect,” asserts the President.

President Weah further indicated that Executive Order #113 is issued against the backdrop of an assessment and evaluation conducted by the government on the causes of increases in the price of various strategic commodities including rice with intent to ameliorate the situation.

According to President Weah, based on the findings of the assessment, the government has seen the need to curb “the continuous increase in the price of rice, to make it affordable to the public for purchase”.

The Liberian Leader also insists that there exists a need for what he calls “exigent measures to achieve the desired objectives of easing the economic burden on the citizens and residents to enable access to rice, the staple food, and such measures can’t await long legislative processes.”

Regarding Executive Order #114 establishing the WAPIS program, President Weah said the decision aligns with an ECOWAS mandate of December 12, 2017, that all member states endorse the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) program.

He said it’s also against the backdrop that Liberia is a member of the International Criminal Police. Investigation and implementation of the WAPIS program in the sub-region.

The Executive Order opines: “Whereas, the government of Liberia desires the establishment of a National electronic Police Information System to be shared by the National Law Enforcement Agencies in Liberia as part of the WAPIS program.”

The organic objective of the WAPIS program is to strengthen information exchange and coordination among regional law enforcement agencies.

The Executive Order is accordingly consistent with the MOU signed on December 17, 2018, between the government of Liberia and the International Criminal Police Investigation (INTERPOOL), coupled with the fact that actions and activities leading to the establishment of the program have not been enacted by the appropriate Status to enable to operationalize the WAPIS program in Liberia.

As per Executive Order #114, a National Steering Committee or WANACO has been established to administer the affairs of the WAPIS program, which falls under the Executive Branch of Government, directly the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

The Executive Order states that WAPIS will be headquartered in Monrovia at the edifice of the Liberia National Police.