Monrovia – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has increased the price of petroleum products, regardless of the economic turmoil the country and its citizens are faced with due to the current electoral impasse.
The increment has led to many commercial drivers suddenly increasing transportation fare to commensurate with the increment.
A circular issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry indicated: “The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in consultation with the Management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) has announced that there would be twelve United States cents (0.12c) increase in the price of gasoline (PMS) and thirteen United States cents (13c) increase in the price of fuel oil (AGO).”
The Commerce Ministry further instructed that the retail price of gasoline be US$3.37/LD$440 while fuel oil should be sold for US$3.44/LD$450.
Ironically, the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) in a press statement issued on the same December 1, 2017 informing the public that there has been no increment in the price of petroleum products.
“The LPRC management would like to inform the public that the information being propagated has no flavor of truth, and therefore wishes to make it clear that there is over 30,000 metric ton of mixed petroleum products in its shore tanks capable of sufficiently and adequately serving the Liberian Market for over two months,” the LPRC statement asserted.
The LPRC called on the public to report any individual/ filling station selling petroleum product above the approved pump price of US$3.25 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$400.00 for gasoline and US$3.31 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$410.00 for fuel oil.
Over the last few days, the filing stations around Monrovia have been selling their products at the price stipulated by the Ministry of Commerce, with total disregard to the warning from the LRPC.
The increment in the price of petroleum product is already creating scarcity on the market.
It can be recalled that last week, several drivers and passengers were stranded in Kakata, Margibi County due to the inability of filling stations there to supply.
A major petroleum dealer who asked for anonymity informed this newspaper that there is likely to be shortage due to lack of foreign exchange to ship petroleum products into the country coupled with the increment of prices while dealers are being requested to sell at a lower price.
“We’re not buying the products in Liberian dollars, we use the foreign exchange and we are not getting it so how do the ships come?”