Maryland County Senator, John Ballout
Lawmaker Wants Hearings Over Price Hikes
By Winnie Dixon
MONROVIA, September 11 (LINA) - Senator John Ballout of Maryland County has written the Liberian Senate to hold a public hearing with the business community on hike in prices of basic commodities on the Liberian market.
He said it is important that the Senate maintains its oversight on the impact of the Ebola crisis on the economy, adding that since the outbreak, “economic activities have slowed down with corresponding escalating prices, and jobs loss, especially in the private sector.”
In his communication read in Session on Thursday, the Senator noted that in this sort of situation where the country is faced with a challenging medical crisis, “there would be unscrupulous individuals and businesses wanting to take advantage of the current state of emergency for profiteering and other abuses at the detriment of the Liberian people”.
He said the Commerce Minister, Liberian, Lebanese, Indian and Fula business Communities and Liberia Chamber of Commerce, among others, should appear before the plenary to give reasons why citizens are still complaining of hike in prices, despite government’s warning.
Recently, the Government of Liberia called on the business community to stop subjecting the citizens to further hardship as a direct result of hike in prices.
The government, through its Minister of Information Lewis Brown, said that it was going to treat as “common criminals” those found in the habit of increasing prices of basic commodities, including food and non-food items.
Following the reading of the communication in the 4th day sitting of the Liberian Senate, the communication was sent to the committee on commerce, trade, banking and currency, to advise the plenary in two weeks on the best decision to take.