Concerned about curbing the proliferation of substandard goods
flooding the Liberian market, authorities at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry say the BIVAC-Liberia contract (Bureau Inspection Valuation Assessment Control) is currently under review.
BIVAC-Liberia, contracted to inspect pre-shipment goods before landing into the country, is criticized by consumers for being responsible for the proliferation of substandard goods on the Liberian market.
But Commerce Minister Miata Beysolow, at a press conference Thursday, admitted her ministry’s inability to stop the spreading of substandard goods on the local, saying government is reviewing BIVAC’s inspection contract.
“Right now we are reviewing the contract of BIVAC to make sure that the pre-shipment exercise is rigorous,” Mrs. Beysolow said.
Nevertheless, she blamed several other factors, including smuggling of goods through the porous borders and the harassment of business people by commerce inspectors, as being responsible for substandard goods flooding the local market.
She admitted that some Commerce inspectors were reported harassing business people, and vowed to remove such agents and replace them with properly identified ones in the ministry’s policy to stem corruption.
“We must be frank with you that it (the action of commerce inspector) is tantamount to harassment. They (business people) cannot do their businesses with inspectors in and out asking for this asking and that,” she indicated.
She said business people would be invited and informed about which inspectors will visit their business houses before such agents proceed for inspection.
“Commerce inspectors will be out periodically when necessary. They will be out in an organized manner,” Mrs. Beysolow said.
Meanwhile, the commerce minister informed consumers that her ministry cannot control prices, but encourages and regulates competition on the market.
“We want to divert from the past. We are monitoring and regulating the business entities and not to police them as we had in the past. We are there to see that businesses are respecting the rules and regulations,” she explained.
She warned that a new business regulation has been instituted by checking business houses for current registration and proper labeling of goods on sale.