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“Fuel subsidy is still a great challenge for us”

…Petroleum Unit Executive Chair

May 16, 2016 By Jariatu Bangura

The Executive Chairperson of the Petroleum Unit has told Members of Parliament that fuel subsidy by the government was one of the greatest challenges of the unit.

Speaking during a familiarisation meeting with members of the Committee on Trade and Industry, Dan Mason said they were faced with numerous challenges in respect of government subsiding pump prices, while retailers buy the products at prices that do not suit their comfort.

“In February this year, Le6 billion fuel chits were collected and government did subsidise. We cannot really ignore the fact that it has to be substantial. CSOs on the other hand have been asking for fuel price to be reduced to Le2,500 whilst others are saying otherwise. All prices are beginning to go up and that is giving a signal for fuel prices to increase too. There is a document on my desk now from IMF and World Bank for the removal of subsidies on pump prices and discussion is still ongoing,” Mason revealed.

On the issue of incessant shortage of fuel, he said “We have indeed experienced shortages from time to time, which is unacceptable as it is not good for the sector. Sometimes we need to avoid it but we cannot. We are currently putting out stock for a minimum of two weeks as we await the arrival of the minimal threshold.”

He cited security as another uphill challenge for the unit, whenever vessels arrive at the quay. He told lawmakers the quay lacks adequate security to protect and prevent thieves from stealing the product.

Chairperson of the committee, Hon. Veronica K. Sesay, promised that they would look into the issue as frequent fuel shortage brings the movement to a halt, adding that sometimes it even hinders the movement of Members of Parliament.

She urged the unit to work closely with the committee to address the challenges.

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