With plans to increase fuel prices to Le 12,000…*

*Govt Strategy Prioritizes Citizens Welfare*

Govt Strategy Prioritizes Citizens Welfare*

By  Sal Hajj Ballop

The Government of Sierra Leone, through the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, has been working assiduously in ensuring that the pump price of fuel is tied down on a standard value, far below what is being charged in other countries.This is one among many measures being put in place by the government to cushion the country’s economy, wherein the negative impact is not heavily felt on the consumers.It is expected that the pump prices on fuel will soon rise from Le 10,000 to Le 12,000 per litre, which will make Sierra Leone among the countries selling the cheapest fuel in Africa. Out of 23 countries in Africa, only Nigeria and Tunisia are selling fuel cheaper than Sierra Leone. An increment from Le 10,000 to Le 12,000, which is expected any time from now, will inform the government’s decision to be able to salvage the country’s economic situation through revenue generation. Though others may consider the situation to be an additional burden on the lives of the people, it is in the view of others that without revenue generation, no country will be able to stand. Therefore, one is expecting that in real-time crisis that is faced, with the global economic crunch, backed with the corona deadly virus pandemic, fuel prices the world over has adversely affected other countries, due to low turnout of production by oil-producing countries. Sierra Leone is one among few countries that has been salvaging and cushioning the economic burden on fuel increment, with extra government support and tariff reduction.Research conducted has shown that Sierra Leone does not determine oil prices, but the prices of petroleum products are determined by a combination of external factors, which includes the international Oil reference price (PLATTS) and foreign exchange rate.  In Sierra Leone, the pricing formula is well structured, transparent and reviewed monthly, and pump prices have changed six (6) times since 2018, with a reduction in the pump price three times.  This has happened amidst global price increases, and the government kept the pump prices unchanged at Le 7,000 per litre for 6 months and Le 10,000 since July 2021.This, in essence, it is clear for the public to understand that the government of Sierra Leone, through the Petroleum Regulatory Agency, has been very magnanimous in ensuring that price stability on fuel remains intact, though there continues to be an increase in the international market.Findings are that between September and December 2021, the pump price of fuel in Sierra Leone remains the same. Although there were oil price increases all over the region and the world, the government did not allow the high costs to be passed on to the poor consumers. Therefore, it is likely that an increase in the pump price should not be misrepresented or be taken out of context, because the government is taking the challenge to always cushion the economy. Out of 23 countries in Africa, Sierra Leone is on record for selling the cheapest fuel, apart from Nigeria and Tunisia. The two countries mentioned above are oil-producing countries; which mean that Sierra Leone is in a better state of affairs than many countries in terms of pricing formula.In our next edition, we will bring to the attention of the public and our readership the different prices of fuel in different countries, to demonstrate the true picture of what obtains in the oil industry