Sierra Leone Government has made adjustments to the pump price of petroleum products, with an additional Le 3,000 per litre. The initial pump price of petroleum products per litre was Le 15,000, and so the new price, which took effect from the 9th of June 2022 is now Le 18,000 per litre. Upon adjusting the new price, Sierra Leone was in a better place on fuel supply and distribution. Prices of petroleum products have always been uniform among those who will prefer to sell black market price, which is different from the government’s official price.
It will interest readers to understand that Siera Leone is not part of an oil-producing country, but fuel availability has never been a problem until when there is suspicion of an increase or decrease in price, there will be the time fuel dealers will hoard the product, presenting a case of artificial scarcity. This has been the issue all this while, as the majority are of the view that fuel in Sierra Leone is relatively cheaper than in other countries. Sierra Leone has never faced a situation wherein fuel scarcity will bring unrest, like what obtains in Nigeria and other countries. Government is in desperate need of money to be able to finance the national budget, hence the need for a slight adjustment in the pump price of fuel.
The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) stands on top of the situation, through the proactive leadership of Dr Brima Balowa Koroma. Dr Balowa has ensured that Sierra Leone maintained stability in fuel supply, because there are so many challenges the world over on fuel production. The war in Ukraine has got a rippling effect on many countries, and Sierra Leone is not an exception. What Sierra Leoneans should be concerned about is the availability of the products. In other countries, fuel availability is a pipe dream ever since the war started between Russia and Ukraine.
Research conducted shows that Sierra Leone is selling petroleum products at a cheaper rate than countries in the sub-region. With the new adjustment on fuel prices, the government will be able to salvage the country’s economy in diverse ways. Government is presently cash-strapped to the extent that the new adjustment is justifiable in the interest of national development. Research conducted states that even at the cost of Le 18,000 per litre, the government is subsidising Le 2,000, which is the more reason why the adjustment was made to Le 18,000.
In 2021, the Government subsidized 6.6 million dollars on petroleum products, and from January 2022 to May, the Government subsidized 380 billion leones, which speaks volumes about the money government is losing on subsidy. For the petroleum industry to be firm, Sierra Leone oil marketing companies need twenty million dollars to be able to bring fuel into the country on a monthly basis, but most of the Oil Marketing Companies are unable to raise that amount every month, the more reason why the Government took upon itself to give out forty-seven million dollars ($47,000,000) to oil marketing companies spanning from January to June 2022.