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Petroleum Directorate poised to tackle fuel crises

Petroleum Directorate poised to tackle fuel crises

With high speculation that the pump price of petroleum products may hike at the end of June, the Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, Dr Brima M Baluwa Koroma has outlined strategic unprecedented interventions geared towards tackling the perennial fuel crisis that had fraught the sector over the years.

Dr Koroma said he intended to open up the sector by encouraging investors and creating the enabling environment.

“My dream is to have more players and deliver service to the people of Sierra Leone”, he told Sierra Express Media.

In the area of infrastructure, the Chairman assured that he would build storage capacity across the country by constructing tank farms to improve the chances of replenishment and construct an alternative jetty to the only existing one in order to solve the problem of congestion at the quay.

“Our aim is to get large storage that will serve the Mano River Union”, he said, noting that both the storage and jetty would be completed by the end of December.

Speaking on the issue of pricing, Dr Koroma said that unlike before, when prices were determined by the dual system of commercial and retail, prices would now be determined by a combination of platts and Foreign Exchange. Explaining further, he clarified that previously, data was collected and computed from one of the oil companies to determine the price. “To me, it is very inadequate and inappropriate”, he said.

He described the current price as “off-market rate”, noting that had it not been for the magnanimous intervention of President Bio, the pump price of petrol should have risen to Le15, 000.00.

Finally, he reiterated his vision to transform the sector such that dealers would become importers and importers become refiners. Dr Koroma refused to categorically state that there will be a hike in the pump price at the end of June. 

Meanwhile, a Civil Society group, Native Consortium and Research Center, has threatened to jump into industrial action if the price goes up as anticipated.

A press release issued by the group states that “The NCRC wants the general public and especially the PRA and the government to know that such increment is not only unacceptable but untimely and will exacerbate the suffering of the poor Sierra Leoneans. The NCRC wants to register its total disapproval over such move by the PRA to increase fuel price and we also want to bring to the immediate and full attention of the general public that the Native Consortium will lead a peaceful nationwide demonstration to register our dissatisfaction

By Abdul Kuyateh

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