Reduction in Fuel Prices Receives Mixed Reactions in Sierra Leone
By Abdul Hassan Fackie,
Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The announcement by Patroleum Regulatory Agency ( PRA) of Sierra Leone on the evening of Sunday, 18 July, 2022 that the price of the pump price for one litre of petrol, kerosene, diesel and fuel oil has been reduced from twenty two Leones (Le 22.00) to twenty Leones (Le 20.00) was met with mixed reactions from Sierra Leoneans right across the country.
While most people expressed the opinion that this was a good progress others which is reflective of the slight reduction of crude oil prices in the international market, others mostly opponents of the Government were quick to respond that the price reductions were very minimal and do not reflect the reduction in the price for a barrel of crude oil on the international market.
They further stated that they believe government can reduce more than that and the petroleum companies will still make good profits.
While the proponents of the price reduction argued that the reduction will lead to decrease in the prices of goods and services and consequently reduce the suffering of the people, the opponents countered that they do not believe that there will be any significant changes in prices of goods and services in the country and therefore the people will continue to suffer.
Reacting to the varying views in the arguments, officials of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) have taken their time to explain that the prices of fuel products are not set by them but rather that the prices on the world market and the cost of bringing the products into the country as well as others factors like renting of facilities, taking care of workers, paying taxes and maintaining machinery and other equipment all determine the pricing system.
They pointed out that the war between Russia and Ukraine is what has led to the high prices of crude oil as the embargo on Russian oil has considerable led to a short fall in the amount of oil that is available for sale which means that the demand has far outweighed supply ultimately leading to a hike in the price of crude oil.
They appealed to Sierra Leoneans to be patient as there is hope that the prices of crude oil will continue to reduce and ultimately the price of the pump price will also reduce accordingly.
So far, even though Government has announced the reduction in the transportation fares for vehicles there has not been much reduction in practice and with the Dollar still appreciating against the Leone, prices of essential goods and services continue to rise and the people are still facing a lot of hardship.