On the Sporadic Fuel Queues in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown, has been disfigured again by long petrol queues, obviously due to fuel shortage, a chronic problem which Sierra Leoneans have been suffering since the historic 1980 OAU Conference which devastated the country’s economy.
Successive governments in this nation have been battling the problem but to no avail as the fuel queues keep reappearing and the masses continue suffering. Fuel shortage has always been accompanied by the skyrocketing of transport fares and its consequent increase in the price of essential commodities. The already deprived and poor masses end up bearing the brunt.
The ugly situation is being worsened by the diabolic activities of unscrupulous and unpatriotic businessmen who sometimes hoard fuel to create artificial scarcity in order to maximize profit at the expense of the public. Whenever there is fuel shortage, agents of these money-hungry hoarders are seen illegally selling fuel here and there, They sometimes sell their illicit fuel at cut throat prices right in the fuel stations, thereby undermining the business of licensed dealers.
Illegitimate fuel trade has almost become legitimate as it is now being done under the noses of police officers who turn a blind eye to it. On seldom occasions, the police apprehend the illegal fuel dealers but before you wink your eye, they are released for reasons best known to the police, a situation that has emboldened many to join the illicit trade to exploit people.
If the ruling government is serious about its much propagated ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, then it must move heaven and earth to eliminate the intermittent appearance of the long fuel queues as there can be no prosperity without fuel which is blood of development. Government must wage a relentless war on fuel hoarding and must collaborate with licensed fuel dealers to diagnose the problem of fuel shortage and find a permanent cure for it; otherwise, our much desired development and our much advertized Agenda for prosperity will be in jeopardy.
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