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Citizens oppose removal of fuel subsidy


November 1, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara & Andrew Ngebuva  (Intern)

In the wake of government’s proposed decision to remove the subsidy it used to pay on fuel prices due to the smuggling of the product from Sierra Leone to neighbouring countries, Concord Times yesterday sought the views of citizens, who vehemently opposed the said proposed decision.

Many, who were interviewed by Concord Time’s Patrick Jaiah Kamara and Andrew Ngebuva, said the removal of fuel subsidy would add salt to injury.

Baio Mansaray-commercial motor bike rider, Dwozark park

If the government removes the subsidy, it will affect us greatly. The passengers have to face the consequences because we are definitely going to increase the transportation fare. Apart from that, the prices of every commodity would increase.

We are pleading to the government not to remove the subsidy at this moment because there is every possibility that the prices of everything would be sky rocketed.

For any government to be successful, it has to take care of its citizens and dialogue with them. For us here, we say no to the removal of the subsidy. And I believe President Koroma will listen to the voice of the youth.

Abu Bakarr Sankoh, Chairman, Commercial Motor Bike Riders, Kingharman Road Park

I think the government needs to fight the economic situation first before removing subsidy on fuel. There is a harsh economic situation already in the country and removing subsidy at this moment will add salt to injury.

Things are going from bad to worse every day and this was the same situation that triggered the 11-year civil war in this country. We the riders have been pushed to the corner by Paolo Conteh and that has made it very difficult for us to even pay ‘master money’ to bike owners.

Prices of imported and local goods have increased considerably. This will continue to push citizens to an unbearable situation. We are asking the government not to remove the subsidy on the price of fuel.

Smuggling could not be a premise to remove subsidy.Gvernment should instead close the borders and increase security surveillance. But removing subsidy from the product as a result of smuggling is a flimsy excuse. The government should reconsider its decision to remove the subsidy.

Victor Gbundema , businessman along Railway Line

I think the government should wave the excise and custom duties on the product. With that, I think, the price would be stable without government paying subsidy.

The fuel subsidy is a very contentious issue and the government needs to understand that the ordinary people have to suffer the consequences if the subsidy is removed. Remember that we are in the majority.

Now look, EDSA has added 15% tax on the electricity tariff when the fuel price has not been increased and Guma has done similar. If the price of fuel increases “Na kondo go eat en mama”

Fuel is what moves everything in the world, so it is a crucial decision for the government to make because we don’t even know where government would invest the money, supposing they remove the subsidy. Therefore, let it remain like that.

Mohamed Sesay, commercial bike rider

This is a very serious situation the government wants to bring to this country because things are very difficult and removing the subsidy will sky rocket the prices of commodities.

For some us, we will not be afraid to go on the street to demonstrate against this bad decision the government wants to take. The current situation in this country is nothing to write home about.

Those that are smuggling the fuel are the same government officials, so government should check itself properly. I know some fuel stations that are owned by politicians. Logically, the government was paying the subsidy to itself. I suggest they continue to pay the subsidy to themselves.

Some of us are doing this job to accumulate money to pay our college fees, but the way things are going, it will be difficult for us to succeed. For me, I know President Koroma to be a listening president. I am optimistic that the government would not remove subsidy at this moment.

Momahed Wurie Bah, sigarrete seller

I have been hearing this issue on radio throughout last week. The Minister of Information is the main engineer behind this subsidy stuff.

For me, I know when fuel price increases; everything will be more and more difficult and government needs to consider this situation seriously because it has to affect all of us.

We are not safe in this country because if food stuffs are not accessible as a result of its high prices, then anarchy is the result because ‘a hungry man is an angry man.’

Our nation is a youthful country and the more things become harder, the more we experience violence, armed robbery and several other vices in the society.

In my view, the government should maintain the current price until the economic situation stabilises, otherwise let prepare to witness something negative in the future. Removing subsidy is a bad idea by the government.

Yeanor Turay, fruits seller

We the poor people have to suffer the consequences of the government’s action to remove the subsidy. You know when the price of fuel is cheap; there is possibility that prices of commodities will be reduced.

I have four school children and I paid their fees through the sales of these fruits. Just imagine if the price of fuel increases, automatically transportation will also increase, which in turn, will affect the selling price of fruits.

I will not talk about the imported goods because their prices are already increasing, so it will be a double jeopardy if the price of fuel increases.

The government must be joking about this situation. For me, this country is heading for doom. The future of this country is bleak. The government needs to reconsider this decision if they want a peaceful outcome of the 2018 elections.

Rebecca Brima, cosmetics seller

The situation in this country is becoming worst by the day. Since I bought my market last week, I haven’t got a single sale because of the economic situation in the country.

If fuel price increases, everything will be difficult. I suggest the government maintains the current price of fuel.

Sierra Leone is sitting on a time bomb that will explode at any time. Let the government know that they were elected into office by us and they should consult us before taking decisions.

Isatu Mansaray, resident of Tengbeh town

This government is the worst since I was born. Fuel is one commodity that any government should control if they want to succeed.

Rice is currently sold above Le200, 000 and most cooking items are very expensive in the market. We are not happy with the current situation in this country. In fact, I will not vote for anyone in 2018.

The government should know that it was the people that voted them into office, so they should consult us for sensitive decision like this.

Well, I don’t believe if it is as a result of smuggling of fuel product that the government has planned to remove the subsidy. That is far from the truth.They just want to suffer we the poor people.

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