The managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Marie-Urey Coleman says,current stock in the country will last for 48 days, risking a return of the recent gasoline crisis here.However, she discloses a vessel of 15,000 metric tons of gasoline is expected to arrive by 10th March.
Appearing before the Liberian Senate Thursday, Madam Coleman explains that on February 16, 2020, the entity received a vessel of 7,500 metric tons of PMS gasoline, noting that on the same day an additional 10,000 metric ton of gasoline was offloaded from the same vessel at the connex deport.
She adds that on February 26, another 2,900 metric tons of gasoline were brought in by TOTAL, giving a total amount of 20,400 metric tons of gasoline currently here to last for 48days.
She told senators the entity lacks financial strength to import petroleum into the country, so it relies on private importers to bring in petroleum for the public.
She discloses that prior to the recent petroleum crisis, she tried to obtain credit from commercial banks so that LPRC can import its own products to be able to store reserve that would address crisis like the recent shortage that nearly paralyzed the economy.
According to her, the LPRC has not brought in its own products in about 15-20 years.
She says there is a need for government to get LPRC back to normal status to start importing products, noting that by law, the entity should be the importer of petroleum products for the country.She adds that over the years,the institution gave licenses to importers to bring in petroleum products due to lack of financial ability.
Madam Coleman discloses further that during the gasoline shortage, neighboring Sierra Leone made an intervention, and brought in 318 gallons of gasoline that helped with the situation.
However, she assures that LPRC is doing all it can so that the government and people of Liberia would not experience such crisis again, urging the government to empower the entity financially to import petroleum and create reserve that could avoid future embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the managing director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, who appears before the senate along with his colleague from the LPRC, says dredging process at the NPA is ongoing, widening the breadth at the port from 10cm to 13.5cm, adding the exercise has eight (8) more days to complete that would allow bigger vessels bringing commodities to duck in the Freeport of Monrovia. By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne