PRA official says ‘Crude oil and not refined oil price reduced’
January 25, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Data Processing Manager at the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA), Sallieu S. Kamara, says only the price of crude oil has plummeted in the world market and not refined petroleum products.
Kamara was speaking in an interview with this reporter at his British Council office at Tower Hill in Freetown, last week, while responding to a question as to why there had been no reduction in pump prices despite the record decrease in price of crude oil per barrel in the world market.
According to the PRA Data Processing Manager, it doesn’t mean that because the price of a barrel of crude oil has been significantly reduced since last year the prices of refined oil will also be reduced.
“If the price of the crude oil is reduced maybe the cost of the refinery is not being reduced. The transport fare of the metric tons to Sierra Leone from where it is refined will also remain the same and if it is so, there will be no need to reduce the price of the fuel,” he claimed.
He disclosed that Sierras Leone does not have an oil refinery at the moment, hence oil marketers buy the refined oil in metric tons and not in barrel of crude oil.
He recalled that in January last year the prices of various petroleum projects were reduced by the Government of Sierra Leone.
However, that reduction came about after increased pressure by members of the public and the decrease was less satisfactory to many consumers who described it as “cosmetic” as the cost of petrol and diesel was reduced to Le3,750 from Le4,500.
Asked if he could confirm that the prices of the barrel of crude oil is US$28 in the world market, Sallieu Kamara bizarrely remarked that it was a “rumour” as the PRA is still struggling to confirm that price.
Concord Times though can authoritatively confirm that the price of crude oil reduced to a record US$28 last week.
The Data Processing Manager disclosed that the government, represented by officials in the ministries of Trade and Industry and Finance and Economic Development, is in discussions with oil market stakeholders, adding that the outcome of the discussions would be relayed to the public soonest.
Members of the public have again voiced their displeasure with government and oil marketers for their seeming blind eye to the significant drop in the price of crude oil globally. In the past, fuel increase had been justified by high crude oil price in the global market, although there has not been a corresponding decrease in price here or any significant reduction in a period characterised by an unusual plummet in global oil price.
Ibrahim Turay, a taxi driver in Freetown, said he was aware that the price of crude oil had been reduced in the world market and blame the Government of Sierra Leone for allowing oil marketers to not reduce their price.
He said if fuel prices were reduced there would be a corresponding reduction in transportation fares paid by members of the public.
But a trader at the Bombay Street Market, Mariama Sesay, expressed doubt as to whether drivers would reduce transport fares or stop plying half way even if the prices of fuel was reduced.
She cited as example when fuel prices were reduced from Le4,500 to Le3,750 in January last year, and the government announced a reduction in transport fare from Waterloo to Bombay Street from Le2,000 to Le1,800, yet drivers continue to ask for Le2,000 from passengers, adding that they still take half-way passengers and charge the same fare.