The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Richard Conteh yesterday stated that the rapid price hike of food and non food items in the country has triggered government to take action. “The increase is of grave concern to us” Dr. Conteh said.
Addressing Journalists at the Weekly Ministry of Information and Communication briefing he said that government is concerned because the price increase directly impacts on the welfare of the people.
He added that the way at which prices have been increased cannot be explained by normal market forces, adding that greed, unpatriotic and selfish behaviour could possibly explain the reasons for the price increase.
The Minister maintained that his Ministry has deployed trade monitors to conduct price survey at different shops and markets places in the country. This he noted is one way of stabilizing the rapid price increase.
Dr Conteh reiterated that he did not believe the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is responsible for the price increase, as the increase surpasses the 15% GST.
He averred that he has had preliminary discussion with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) to find out the actual problems of the price increase before responding.
The Minister stated that his Ministry will ensure appropriate market places for business people and they are going to work with the Freetown City Council (FCC)to construct markets so that there will be no crowd street trading.
Dr Conteh said his Ministry has commissioned Consultants to prepare a legal instrument for Consumer Protection adding that Cabinet has also approved the National Trade Policy which is now ready for Parliament.
President of the Consumer Protection Bakarr Ruskin Kabbah explained that one main reason for the price increase is the failure of government to give total support to Sierra Leoneans to import and export essential goods.
By Abibatu Kamara