June 21, 2021
The Native Consortium & Research Center (NCRC) has in press statement threatened to stage a peaceful protest against the proposed increment in the pump prices of petroleum products in Sierra Leone.
The consortium referenced a press release issued by the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) on 7th June, notifying the public that the pump prices of petroleum products will increase from Le. 8,500 to Le. 9,500 per litre any time in July.
“It has come to the notice of the Native Consortium and Research Centre that Government, through the Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA), is about to increase the price of fuel from Le. 8,500 to Le. 9,500 per litre anytime in July 2021 according to the PRA release dated 7th June 2021.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 want 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 over such imminent increment in fuel price on behalf of the public,” the release states.
The organisation further stated that there has not been any material hike in oil price in the World Market and that there has only been 14% increment from February 2021 to date, compared to the 200% increment that occurred during the height of the COVID between April 2020 from Le 7,000 to Le 8,500 in February 2021 when the price per barrel was sold at $ 59 per barrel.
The noted that as at 7th June 2021 when PRA issued their release indicating the Government subsidy and loss and possible increment in July, the fuel price per barrel stood at an average of $ 69 per barrel.
“As a lead voice on fuel the NCRC strongly believes that petroleum has 3 components which the Government can invest in: (a) Importation (b) Storage and (c) Distribution. From 2005 to date the NCRC has not just been giving description but providing prescription for the Downstream petroleum sector based on the studies we have conducted over time with support from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Christian AID to name but few. Like we have always maintained, there are two drivers of fuel price in Sierra Leone; it either the forces of demand and supply to make up the price of crude or the foreign exchange fluctuations locally.”
While commending the current leadership of PRA for the ongoing construction of additional 60,000 metric tons of storage facility and the procurement of platts of refined petroleum products, NCRC reminded the institution of its previous recommendation regarding the current development.
“Since 2005 to date the current PRA leadership should know that the above recommendations have been central in the advocacy of the Native Consortium, including sustaining a strategic stock for any likely shock or artificial scarcity created by the cartel.”
The consortium urged government agents to stop using what they referred to a moribund narrative of people smuggling fuel to Guinea as a driver for increase in petroleum product, stating that such statement constitute an egregious assault on the intelligence of the people.
“Smuggling of fuel has nothing to do with fuel price. In fact, it even creates big turnover and profit for the Oil Marketers, more so when we have free trade protocols in the Mano River Basin.”
The NCRC claimed that a certain Government Minister was working in the interest of Oil Marketers to put undue pressure on the PRA Boss to increase the price of fuel.
“We want to advise that minister to stop this shameful behaviour or else we will shame-name him next time,” the release states.
The consortium reiterated that any attempt to increase the pump price now from Le 8,500 upwards (Le. 9,500) will be devastating to the livelihood of the people and therefore any attempt by the Trade Minister through the PRA to increase fuel price will be met with the stiffest resistance from well-meaning Sierra Leoneans in a peaceful protest.
“We are calling on the President and the Government to halt the PRA from increasing fuel price. For the sake of our Darling Leone Stars the PRA and the Trade Ministry should halt such insensitive move that will by extension lead to increase in transportation fares and add to the economic hardship and the cost of living of Sierra Leoneans,” the organisation reiterates.