In a bid to salvage the current petroleum crisis that has become a serious concern to all, the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has, according to reliable sources, acted proactively by facilitating with the Ivorian President for an emergency purchase of 10,000 metric tons of fuel from Ivory Coast.
According to the Assistant Director of Petroleum Units, Sabieu Conteh, the current petroleum scarcity is not peculiar to Sierra Leone as it is a sub-regional problem.
“As a result of this scarcity, NP and Total now purchase petroleum products at US$123 (USD) per ton as compared to US$86 (USD) per ton in November last year,” Conteh disclosed, adding that the shortage in petroleum products started since December 2012. The National Petroleum (NP) and Total, he confessed, are playing their parts to manage the situation.
According to the outgoing Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Richard Konteh, the shortage of petroleum products in Sierra Leone is as a result of a delay by the vessel which was expected to come with the products.
He made this disclosure during an interview with the BBC World Service on Tuesday 8th January 2013. Dr. Konteh further disclosed that petroleum products are currently rationed in Sierra Leone with half the daily quota being pumped out. This, he said, is because there is a general shortage of refined oil product in West Africa and that the product is being imported from Europe which takes an longer time to arive.
The Minister however assured that the vessel is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone either today Wednesday, 9th January or tomorrow, Thursday, 10th January, 2013.
The shortage, which has hit the entire country for close to a week now, has created serious embarrassment to the public as it has witnessed long queues of vehicles at various fuel stations and many people trekking to their places of work and business centres on a daily basis.
Also, black-marketers have had a field day by using the current scarcity as an opportunity to exuberantly increase the fuel price per litter while fuel importers have, for what ever reasons, kept tight lips on this national imbroglio.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.