Liberia: 'Artificial Shortage' of Gasoline?

LPRC says there is enough product in-country

The Daily Observer has reliably learned that major distributors of petroleum products, particularly gasoline, have shut down their facilities with signs placed at hundreds of fueling stations stating, "no gas for now."

Stations affected by this phenomenon include Total Liberia, Aminata, Super Petroleum (SP), NP, Don Kan, and Kailando, as well as other smaller filling stations. The news about the shortage of gasoline started late Sunday evening with hundreds of quasi-gasoline sellers (can-boy) trooping to established petroleum stations.

At US$2.95 (currently L$570) per U.S. gallon, Liberia has the second lowest gasoline price across West Africa next to Nigeria (US$1.52), while Liberia's immediate neighbors show prices well beyond the US$3 price point, according to Global Petro Prices. In Sierra Leone, the price per gallon is US$3.32; Guinea, US$3.98; and Ivory Coast is up at US$4.05 US Dollars per gallon. Senegal tops the entire sub-region at US$4.98 per gallon.

However, at the news of the shortage, gas prices in Paynesville and Monrovia soared by approximately one U.S. dollar, with trickle-down effects felt mainly on the commercial transport sector. Taxi drivers immediately began charging their passengers nearly fifty percent more than the usual fare per trip, with passengers complaining about commercial drivers' decision to increase the fares.

At the news of the shortage, gas prices in Paynesville and Monrovia soared by approximately one U.S. dollar, with trickle-down effects felt mainly on the commercial transport sector.

"I don't know about gas reaching to LD$750 or more, but we have the product in the country. Maybe, Ministry of Commerce and Industry needs to get involved," William Morris, Director for Public Affairs at the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) told the Daily Observer yesterday.

According to Morris, the management yesterday Sunday, January 19 discharged a vessel and continued up to the morning of January 20, 2020.

"I don't understand how possible it is for the country to be experiencing shortage of gas on the market," Mr. Morris said, while emphasizing that Liberia continues to have more petroleum products.

Jacob Parley, Director for Communications at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) told the Daily Observer yesterday that the ministry will officially respond today, Tuesday, January 21, 2020, to reports on the artificial shortage of gasoline on the market.

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