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Marketers Seek Legislative Redress Over ‘Declining’ Business Climate
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, January 31 (LINA) - Marketers, street vendors and entrepreneurs, among others, Tuesday petitioned the National Legislature to address “the harsh economic condition” being experienced by marketers in the country.
Their march on the Legislature left the Liberian capital virtually paralysed as banks, stores, supermarkets and many other foreign and locally owned businesses closed shop, perhaps fearing a flare-up of violence.
The marketers, under the banner "Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia Inc.," (PATEL) complained over “high tariff, and other incidental taxes” placed on goods imported by Liberian businesses.
Led by Presley Tenwah, who is National Chairperson of PATEL, the marketers, using Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution to justify the legitimacy of their gathering on the grounds of the Capitol Building, indicated that their action was ignited after several moves failed to amicably resolve the matter with other relevant authorities of government.
In a six-count petition, PATEL called on the legislature to ensure that all Liberian businesses be classed in a specific group among the four category of tariffs, allowing them to pay a flat-rate on all goods imported from zero to five percent.
The marketers called on the legislature to ensure a single custom examination before any payment rather than the multi-examination of goods that is being conducted with separate and distinct payment of taxes.
PATEL also pleaded with the legislature to put an end to the constant wave of police brutality against petty traders, retailers and Yana boys with specific reference to the seizure of their goods among other strenuous conditions.
Among other requests, PATEL told the legislature to ensure that immediate measures be instituted to tackle and stabilize the constant fluctuation of the exchange rate on the local market to prevent further hardship being experience by Liberian businesses.
The group also said in their petition that Liberian businesses be given exclusive retail rights, due to the fact that they are dominant in the retail sector.
Meanwhile, Senate Pro-tempore, Armah Jallah, receiving the petition assured the marketers that the legislature will do all it can to respond to the plight of the Liberian people.
Jallah promised that the legislature will work with the relevant government authorities with the hope of finding an amicable and lasting solution to the problems as narrated in the petition.
He congratulated them for exercising their constitutional rights by peacefully assembling to petition their lawmakers, but called on them to return to their normal business activities for the good and benefit of the Liberian people.