Report By: Eric Opa Doue
Pleebo, Maryland County – Business people in Maryland County say bad road condition is posing serious challenge to them. The situation is gravely impacting the local economy, thereby increasing the hardship on many Liberians.
A LocalVoicesLiberia reporter, who was on a recent field trip to Pleebo – the county’s commercial city – spoke with several traders and commuters who said that the condition of the road to Maryland is a major impediment to the business community.
At the same time, retailers are complaining about the increased of the prices of basic commodities such as rice, cement and gasoline.
“The people who sell (in) wholesale are making the goods expensive every day,” Judy Moore, a rice retailer said. “Last week, the rice was LD$2300, but this week we are now paying LD$2500.”
Rice retailers in the county are no longer using the usual one pound measurement cup; they are rather now using a one kilogram container which is sold for LD$95 and LD$100 at some places.
Besides the rice, which is sold for L$2,500 for 25 kilogram, a gallon of gasoline is sold for L$750 and a bag of cement is sold for US$ 13.00.
Frank Wah, the CEO of Frank Wah Inc. told the LocalVoicesLiberia that the prices of commodities are decided based on the transportation fares to the county.
“Last year, we were paying 3,500 Liberian dollars from here to Monrovia on taxi, but now we are paying 5,000 Liberian Dollars,” Wah said.
“So, when we pay all that money, we have to get it back from the goods.”
According to him, the drivers increased the transportation fares to Monrovia every year during the rainy seasons.
“When the roads get bad, they increase the transportation,” Wah said. “But they can’t bring it down when the roads get better.”
Wah said LD$250 is charged to transport a 25 kilogram bag of rice; LD$500 to transport a bag of cement and LD$450 to transport a 5 gallon container of gasoline and LD$2,500 to transport a bundle of zinc from Monrovia to Pleebo City.
Meanwhile, Arku Kollie, the President of the Federation of Road Transport Union, confirmed that high fares are charged to transport basic commodities such as rice, cement and gasoline to the county “because of the road condition.”