11 June 2019

Sierra Leone: Fuel Scarcity in Freetown - Commercial Drivers, Workers, Pupils Stranded

Fuel scarcity has hit Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown since Sunday, causing long queues at gas stations and hampering the movement of vehicles and goods across the country.

Commercial drivers, motorbike riders, fuel hawkers and pupils registered their disappointment over the shortage of diesel and petrol in Freetown. They said the shortage has seriously affected their livelihood.

Private and government workers, as well as school going children in Freetown were seen struggling to access vehicles that could ferry them to their various offices and schools.

"I have been struggling for petrol since Sunday evening and I am yet to have even a litre from a gas station. My tank is almost getting empty and I am not sure of raising the required money for the day," a taxi driver, Ibrahim Kargbo told Concord Times.

A 'Poda Poda' driver, Amadu Kamara said the sudden shortage of fuel came as a surprise to them because there was no information with regards increase or decrease in pump prices.

"This will seriously affect us if something is not done without further delay by the government and oil marketers," he said.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of Native Consortium and Research Center, Edmond Abu, stated that the sudden shortage has put pressure on ordinary Sierra Leoneans, who were faced with serious difficulty in moving freely because most of the vehicles were in queues waiting to purchase fuel.

He urged government to speedily address what he referred to as "artificial scarcity" created on petroleum products since Saturday over price uncertainty.

Rumours are that oil marketing companies were anticipating a sudden increase in the pump prices of petroleum products because of operational challenges even though there has been no increase in the world market.

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