By Lincoln G. Peters
Hundreds of vehicle operators and other petroleum users across Monrovia have expressed anger over the petroleum crisis that has caused high prices for the products here.
Over the past days, the petroleum crisis has worsened, as filling stations sealed off over price differences between the Government of Liberia and petroleum importers.
On Thursday, 9 June 2022, hundreds of people continued to queue at filling stations in Monrovia to purchase gasoline and other petroleum products at skyrocketing prices.
Following an agreement with petroleum importers, the government issued a release Wednesday night, 8 June 2022, stipulating new prices for petroleum products.
The government said the current retail price of gasoline has increased from U.S.$5.10 to U.S.$5.90. It also said diesel fuel will now be sold at the pump price of U.S.$6.90 from its previous price.
Some buyers of petroleum products seen in queue on Thursday have described the petroleum crisis in Liberia as unfortunate and disheartening.
They called on the Government of Liberia through its relevant authorities to intervene.
Our reporter visited the Petro Trade filling station on 9th Street, Sinkor, and the Aminata filling station on 13th Street, Sinkor on Thursday.
During the visit, vehicles, motorbikes and tricycles along with their operators were seen in long queues waiting to be served petroleum products. A gallon of gasoline was being sold for LRD$790.00 at the filling stations.
But retailers who flooded the filling stations were selling a gallon of gasoline for LRD$1,500.00 along the streets.
Samuel Nimely, a commercial motorcyclist who transports passengers between Paynesville and Central Monrovia, expressed sadness over the petroleum crisis.
According to him, they are currently buying gasoline for LRD$790 at the filling stations, but retailers sell a gallon for LRD$1,500.00.
He called on the Liberian Government to intervene because the citizens are seriously dying.
Nimely complained that bike operators are finding it difficult to even get passengers.
For their part, James Anderson, a private vehicle owner, and Ousman Kamara, a taxi driver, claimed that the government has reached no decision to quiet down the situation.
They lamented that they are still buying the products at a huge price.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in a press statement released on 8 June 2022, disclosed that the government has reached an agreement with petroleum importers and distributors.
MICAT said the agreement on the new price structure for gasoline and diesel fuel was reached following requests by the importers.
The release noted that the importers had requested the government for an increase in the price of the commodities to offset the cost they endure on the international market due to the Russian-Ukraine crisis.
The statement pointed out that it was agreed that additional U.S. $0.80 cents will be added on to the current retail price of gasoline.
Thus, gasoline price has been increased from the cost from U.S.$5.10 to U.S.$5.90, the release said. Diesel fuel will now be sold at the pump price of U.S.$6.90 from its previous price, it added.
The government said importers and distributors have agreed to immediately begin lifting their products from the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company’s storage facility to filling stations as of 8 June 2022.