If the gradually brewing situation, now centered at the Freeport of Monrovia, is not immediately curbed, we foresee a further weakening of the Liberian economy already in a freefall economic stagnation.
Even as you read these very pages, the Association carried out a mass demonstration yesterday at the Freeport, an act that left businesses and banking institutions shut down for the day because of the fear of looting, and in some cases a solidarity move to sympathize with the demonstrators.
The protest which later turned violent with police tear gassing the demonstration, started as a peaceful citizens’ demonstration against government recent heavy imposition of taxes on imported goods.
At contention is what the Importers and Exporters Union see as exorbitant tax rates levied on them in the face of a sluggish economy, which they say is steadily spiraling out of hand.
The present discontent started about a week ago when the LRA slapped hefty taxes on goods imported by the association.
In any case, Mrs. Elfreda Tamba of the LRA may herself be under great pressure to generate revenues the government really needs. The association has said that if the LRA persists, it will have no choice but to pass on the access charges to already struggling consumers.
We agree that the Liberian economy is rather sluggish, but we also hasten to suggest that the LRA should meet the Union halfway and devise ways and means to meet the demands of the Union and, by extension, the consuming public, while satisfying the demands of the government’s tax requirements.
At the end of the day, it should be a win-win situation that should see business people importing and selling their goods without losing revenues through hefty tariff payment which will force them to either close shops or pass on their losses to the customers.