By: Christopher Wiah
Liberia – Drivers in Monrovia and its environs are now constrained to wait in long queues along streets at nearby filling stations without even being sure of being served gasoline.
There is, however, no shortage of gasoline, but the importers are adamant on selling the product, unless, the government announces an increment in the pump price of gasoline.
In a statement released by the Petroleum Importers Association, they cited the Russia-Ukraine crisis as a major factor that has led them to incur more expenses in importing petroleum products to Liberia.
“This has increased our cost by about $1.00 on both Diesel and Gasoline as petroleum products are priced daily based on world market price movements. This is beyond the control of any government and the importers. The current prices set by the government, therefore, puts us in losses that are not sustainable and could lead to bankruptcy of our companies. In addition, amidst the current scarcity of petroleum products on the world market, there are a limited amount of stocks in the country and we need to procure stocks in time to have products readily available on the Liberian market,” the release stated.
On Monday, June 6, 2022, many car owners complained over the arbitrary increase in the price of gasoline and fuel at filling stations across the city.
At the Total filling station on the Capitol By-pass, a fleet of vehicles including private and commercial are lined up. Some spent hours waiting to be served.
One of the drivers in the queue is Hansan Somah, a taxi driver. He said, “If we come to buy gas from the filling stations the dealers can refuse to sell to us for the government-stipulated price of LD790, they instead sell the petroleums to camp boys for 1000LD and the can boys sell it to us for LD1200 or LD1300, at the result of that we have to increase our transportation”.
Dozens of drivers also shared similar stories as Hansan’s.
Mohammad Dorley, another taxi driver has decided to ensure that passengers bear the pain of the scarcity. “For me, any way they sell it, I will buy it but that the passengers too will feel it because I will overcharge,” he noted.
Mohammed Dorley’s assertion is the exact thing happening to passengers across major streets in Monrovia.
Some of the passengers explained the challenges in moving from one place to another amid the abrupt arbitrary hike in the transportation fare amid the increase in the price of gasoline.
George Eric Ponnie, a resident of new Georgia Estate explained “At first I used to pay 130LD from new Georgia Estate to Broad Street but now I am paying 200LD and it is frustrating that you have to budget for ur transportation only to know that transportation price is not stable”.
Mariama Kamara, a student and resident of Battery Factory said: “I used to pay 100LD from Battery Factory to Broad Street but I am now paying LD120. This is affecting me because the money I’m adding on it is my recess, so, sometimes I don’t eat on campus”.
This is the second time in less than three months that Liberia is experiencing the scarcity and hike in the price of gasoline amid global petroleum crises due to the Ukraine – Russia crisis.
On Friday, June 3, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that it has worked with Importers of Petroleum Products to ensure that there is sufficient stock in the country to serve the market for the next couple of months.
The release added that the Government remains committed to continuing to engage all relevant stakeholders to ensure essential commodities are available and affordable in line with the Pro-Poor Agenda.
The current reality across the city contradicts Government’s pronouncement and commitment as the situation is posing serious challenges to the Liberians especially, the impoverished.