The government of Sierra Leone is in panic mode as reports of fuel shortage caused prices in some filling stations to rise sharply. But the government says there is no fuel shortage in the country and warns fuel retailers of serious consequences, accusing them of hoarding.
According to a government source: “There is no shortage of fuel or increase in pump prices. The fact is, there was a huge consumption of fuel (Millions of Litres of fuel) during the festive season and largely over the weekend, without replenishment and hence the artificial shortage. But rest assured that this ugly development will soon be addressed in the next 24 hours.
“There is enough fuel in the country that will last beyond February 2022, PRA assured. Replenishment of stock has already started. The good news, also, is that the USA has doled out a huge quantum of oil from her reserves and OPEC too is urged to increase production. This will automatically assure no increase in the global market price and therefore no expectation of increase in pump prices in Sierra Leone. Hoarding is therefore unacceptable and punishable by law. However, oil marketers, PRA and other stakeholders will adequately inform the general public when and where necessary.”
In response to what the government describes as “hoarding of fuel products by some dealers”, the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA), has suspended the license of several fuel suppliers.
Writing in a press statement the PRA said: “Preliminary investigations indicate that a number of dealers deliberately held back sales to end-users in anticipation of a price increase. This practice is tantamount to hoarding and is an offense under Part VII, No.72 (2b) and Part VIII No.68 of the Statutory Instruments of 2016.”
The licenses of the following gas stations have been suspended: Mohamed Kamalobee Koroma Enterprises, Lower Allentown, NP Campbell Street, Freetown, Total Fenesu Gas Station, Fenton Road Bo, Kalinda Enterprise Gas Station, Reservation Junction, Bo and Ibrahim Saccoh gas station No.2 Kenema Highway, Bo.
“All oil marketing companies and dealers are hereby warned that companies or dealers found to deliberately hold back sales of petroleum products will be deemed to have hoarded, PRA shall not hesitate to permanently revoke licenses of companies or dealers found in breach of the above mentioned provisions,” the PRA said.
The Agency also assured the public that the price of fuel is Le10, 000 across the country for the month of January 2022.