Amid serious suspicions the Weah administration is the mastermind of the current gasoline shortage in the country that has nearly crippled the entire economy, authorities at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) announces the arrival of additional 11 tankers of gasoline here on Sunday, 16 February besides a previous consignment of 11 tankers that arrived from neighboring countries on February 14.
The 22 tankers were entirely purchased by the government but transported here in partnership with a local distributor, Aminata & Sons Incorporated.
But the opposition Liberty Party had earlier blamed the shortage in the country on government's granting of dealership rights to cronies who have no clear records of experience and integrity in the petroleum industry, coupled with its subsequent borrowing of huge quantity of petroleum from the reserves of major importers and delivering same to alleged shadow dealers.
"We have information from multiple sources confirming that those shadow petroleum dealers have allegedly reneged on surrendering proceeds from the sale of the borrowed petroleum to the major importers, thus limiting their capacity to bring more petroleum into the country", the party said in a recent statement in Monrovia.
But the Deputy Director for Operations of the LPRC, Bobby Brown, reacts via mobile phone that he designated the LPRC envoy to validate the actual number of gasoline tankers purchased and to escort the product to the LPRC storage.
Though he neither denies nor confirms, but there are reports Mr. Brown himself led the envoy to purchase the latest consignment of 11 tankers of gasoline from neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast.
The consignment is reportedly expected to arrive here on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
There are also reports that 'gasoline ship' is expected to berth at the Freeport of Monrovia containing 10,000 and 4,000 metric tons of gasoline for Conex and Aminata & Sons, respectively.
Last week, the LP attributed the shortage on calculated and deliberate impositions by the government to increase the sufferings of the people and by extension, compromise the security of the state. It recalls that from the very inception of the Weah Administration, it has exhibited a consistent pattern of cronyism, shady business deeds and high level of incompetence, much of which have today caught the government and its functionaries unprepared for this chronic petroleum problem that has brought the country to near paralysis.
In our candid view, therefore, the current gasoline shortage in the country is self-inflicted, as it is a by-product of wheeling and dealings from within, whereby people in places of power chose to unprofessionally intervene in the petroleum business, thus incapacitating major petroleum dealers as not to meet their obligations to the public", the party further asserted.
Meanwhile, contrary to reports that Mr. Brown was escaping an ongoing investigation of alleged missing of 2M gallons of gasoline from the country, he denies and explains that he was on an official mission instead, and result will be known by tomorrow, Tuesday.
He indicates that LPRC has suffered operational loses up to of 2M gallons of gasoline from 2008 to 2020, which according to him, are being referred to as 'missing or corrupted."
The deputy LPRC says these historical loses formally began to be noticeable in 2008, but was officially recorded during the management of the late Harry Greaves in 2010, as well as the past managements of T. Nelson Williams, Sumo Krupee, Mardea Pearson, and Marie Cole-Urey, respectively.
"Spillage, tanks ruptured, changes in reference height, decommission of storage tanks and water accumulation are some of the loses LPRC suffered over the formal logged years which has be presumed of missing millions of gallons," Mr. Brown argues.
In the wake of the prevailing shortage of gasoline, that has adversely impacted transportation service in various communities; the Liberty Party recommends five steps to government to ease the suffering of the Liberian people and the public in general.
Among others, the party says government should cut down consumption of fuel and gas and instead, prioritize emergency supplies to hospitals and clinics as a stop-gap measure; that government institutions reduce number of days employees are required to report to work, or alternatively, work schedule should be revised to allow flexibility for employees, and that all vehicle owners, public and private, give lift to students during morning and afternoon hours.
- By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne