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‘Tariffs Reduction Has Foreign Implications’

-Rep. Kogar Declares

By R Joyclyn Wea

Nimba County district five Representative Samuel Kogar says the president’s decision to reduce tariffs on some basic commodities in the country has foreign implications and as such; it should be looked at carefully.

Speaking Wednesday on a local radio station via mobile phone, Representative Kogar contested that the president’s decision should have been taken in consultation with regional body, the Ecowas Community of West African or ECOWAS  as well as the House of Representatives that ratified the Common Extended Tariff (CET).

The Nimba County lawmaker said though the decision by President Weah is laudable to some extent, but such decision is a violation of the ECOWAS’ Common Extended Tariff if not rightly done.

The chairaman of the House of Representatives’ committee on Commerce and Industry wants President Weah to state clearly whether his decision is an executive order and send same to the House of Representatives.

Representative Kogar reminded the Liberian leader that the CET is as the result of the World Commerce Organization (WCO) protocol that was sent to ECOWAS parliament.

He said the regional body realized that there was lot of commodities in the sub-region that needed to be work on.

The CET method was put in place by ECOWAS and approved by the Government of Liberia through the legislature.

“All the president can do is to erase the local or excise tariffs and send said communication to the House of Representatives because under Article 34 of the Liberian Constitution, it is only the House of Representatives that has the power to take decision regarding decision on tariffs,” he said.

It can be recalled that member states of ECOWAS met and decided to have a common extended tariff to address some of the challenges facing regional countries.

They agreed that if tobacco is sold in Liberia for 10%, it should also be sold for 10% in other ECOWAS countries that will control the issue of tariff.

On May 29, 2018, President Weah approved a new mandate which reduces tariffs on a wide-range of commodities being imported into the Liberian market.

The “New Tariff Regime” was submitted to the President by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner-General Elfrieda Stewart-Tamba in keeping with an earlier mandate by the Liberian president to do so within 72 hours. The mandate takes immediate.

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