Sierra Leone: The global trade trend is impacting on local commodities worldwide including Sierra Leone, with a huge effect on economies. That aside, government is working hard to ensure that the supply chain is not affected, even with recently experienced shortages of commodities.
The Minister of Trade, Hinga Sandy, at the government press briefing told journalists of how the dramatic increase in the price of commodities globally and the rise in freight prices have impacted on prices of containers coming from China, a factor he confirmed the country had no determinant role on, either in terms of regulation or control.
Sandy said despite all the increases, government has been engaging importers since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, and from continuous engagements with retailers, the country has experienced a relatively positive shift in prices of local commodities when compared to the sub-region.
He revealed that the price of rice in neighbouring Liberia is by far higher than it costs in Sierra Leone, from which he said importers in the country are experiencing a competitive sale of 500 to 600 bags monthly to neighbouring countries. He said the global freight charge for cement has doubled, but based on the level of government’s engagement with importers, they were able to maintain wholesale prices.
The Minister of Trade said government cannot predict ship freight charges as presently more ships are moving away from the Atlantic Ocean as a result of the blocked Suez Canal which has affected more flow through that path. He said despite the listed challenges, government has enough rice stock in stores, with an increase in order level by Sierra Leone to cover for Liberia.
Minister Sandy said as a result of the cooperation they have been receiving from importers in their engagements, government has set aside Le.500 billion to boost the trade and commerce sectors with 7 per cent interest rate, with an additional Le.26.7 billion Munafa project fund with 9 per cent interest rate, all aimed at ensuring that the supply chain of commodities is maintained, and an increase in local rice production in the country.
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