The pump price of gasoline in the Liberian market has drastically increased from 540 Liberian dollars to 700LRD, leading commercial drivers here to hike transportation fairs across the capital.Though there has been no official pronouncement from the Government of Liberia on increase in gasoline price, commercial drivers within the Monrovia suburb of Bushrod Island are now charging 70 Liberian dollars in a taxi cap, while motorcyclists and tricycles have raised fares to 100 LRD to come to central Monrovia, something that is creating heated arguments between passengers and drivers.
Tony Wleh, a taxi driver, who plies the Bushrod Island route, says reason behind the sudden hike in fares is due to government’s inability to adequately handle the price of gasoline, and other commodities.
“We drivers don’t have any right to increase the fare of transportation in this country, but if the government had a constant and stable price, no one will over- charge”, he argues.
He says recently, a gallon of gasoline was sold for 400 Liberian dollars, but is now sold for 540 LRD, so drivers were left with no alternative, but to increase transport fares.
“We all saw the Government of Liberia through the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry announced an increase in the prices of gasoline and diesel fuel on the Liberian market quite recently, but this is where we are again.”
A passenger, Fatu Bility, laments that it is very embarrassing for ordinary Liberians who are struggling daily, leaving their various homes to get to town in order to feed their families, will now have to pay more than their income on transportation fare.
She continues that the Government of Liberia needs to step in and halt the increment in the pump price of gasoline and transportation fair, saying, “Imagine why incase I was going to leave my house with the normal transportation fair, by now I would have been disgraced by this taxi driver; what have we done to deserve this kind of treatment from the very same people that we were killing ourselves under rain and sun for,” Fatu laments.
But some petroleum importers attribute the abrupt increase in gasoline price and correspondingly transport fares to a new road tariff introduced by the government. -Editing by Jonathan Browne transport fares to a new road tariff introduced by the government.
By Ben P. Wesee & Lewis S. Teh –Editing by Jonathan Browne