Amid the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, the National Charcoal Union of Liberia (NACUL) is appealing to government to allow its members transport their charcoal to Monrovia and other parts of the country.
NACUL says many residents in Monrovia and other locked down cities and towns use charcoal energy for cooking and other essential things.
The union says the charcoal sector is very essential in Liberia because charcoal provides energy to highest portion of the urban population including Monrovia
"On behalf of charcoal producers and sellers across Liberia, we are appealing to the Government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to allow the free movement of charcoal during this health crisis," says Mr. Richard T. A. Dorbor, President of NACUL.
The Charcoal Union President observes that the price of charcoal is skyrocketing since the beginning of the state of emergency because charcoal producers and sellers are being stopped at various checkpoints.
NACUL says its appeal comes in the wake of calls from many of its members from around the country that they are being stopped from transporting their charcoal to Monrovia and other parts of Liberia.
One of the areas where charcoal is stockpiled now is the Clay Checkpoint in Clay, Bomi County.
NACUL foresees an energy crisis if nothing is done urgently to address its concern. "We do not want to experience another crisis when we are facing this deadly virus," the Union maintains.
Meanwhile, NACUL is appealing for charcoal to form part of essential goods listed by the government since many people need charcoal to prepare their food and others.
It can be recalled that following the declaration of the state of emergency by President George Weah, the Ministry of Internal Affairs met with leaders of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), where an agreement was reached to sell only food items on the market. Among the items listed, charcoal was not mentioned, knowing that without it, many Liberians cannot prepare their food.
This is reportedly causing problems between charcoal sellers and joint security officers that are enforcing the President’s lockdown order across Liberia.
Signed: Mr. Richard T. A. Dorbor