MONROVIA: The Government of Liberia has announced new adjustments in the price of petroleum products on the Liberian market.
The change is in keeping with the government’s promise to review the cost of the commodity in the country whenever the price changes on the international market.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), the government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, and the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, (LPRC), announced on Friday, April 1, 2022, that the price of gasoline has been reduced by US$0.61 while diesel fuel is reduced by US$0. 53
The new costs of the products are therefore as follows: Gasoline wholesale: U.S. $4.82; Gasoline retail: U.S.5.00/775LD. Diesel Fuel wholesale: U.S.5.29 and Diesel Fuel retail: U.S. 5.47/850LD.
The government informs the public that it will deploy inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce to ensure compliance with the new prices; they will also be tasked with monitoring the price circular in an effort to make sure importers and distributors do not undercut competitors and engage in profiteering.
The Government warns that any importer, distributor, or retailer selling above the designated price structure will face the full weight of the law.
In March, the two governmental entities issued a circular increasing the prices of petroleum products, citing external factors.
Prior to government latest price increment of gasoline, a gallon of gas at various pumps in Liberia was LRD 499.6 (3.24 USD) as at February 28, 2022. Read Global Petrol Price Index: https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/Liberia/gasoline_prices/.
Despite the alarming hardship generated as a result of said price increment, coupled with COVID-19 embargo, reported pressure from importers has placed the government in a serious predicament to increase the pump price of gasoline in Liberia, which recently jumped to LD$ 875 (US$5.66).
This increment of 2.42 USD or LD$375.4 amount to 74.6% on every gallon at any pump.
However, several Liberians criticized President George Manneh Weah’s decision to allow the leaderships of the Ministry of Commerce and LPRC to increase price of petroleum products when he (President Weah) is doing everything possible to be reelected come 2023.
A young critic of President Weah, former student leader at the University of Liberia, Martin Kollie added his voice to government action, saying “Sierra Leone increased from 10k Leones (US$0.86) to 12k Leones (US$1.03). This is an increment of just 2k (0.17 USD cents). So, how much did Sierra Leone actually increase by? Just 20% even though international oil price has increased by 62%. This is sound economic governance. Gas price averages 4.4 USD per gallon globally.
Kollie maintained that “whenever gas prices rise so high mainly due to any sudden increase in aggregate demand worldwide amid disruption in supply and/or low production which has been fundamentally fueled by Russia-Ukraine Crisis, it is obvious that such external macroeconomic shock will affect most African economies including Sierra Leone and Liberia, because they are mostly import-based and aid-dependent.”
Furthermore, Kollie intoned that LPRC and Commerce Ministry have every power to set price ceiling. “The gas industry in Liberia is not deregulated. After all, LPRC is a public enterprise.”