Liberia: LPRC, Commerce Ministry - Who Is Saying the Truth?

-- Assures Liberians of Enough Quantity of Gasoline, Diesel

The management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, has informed Liberians that it is the only company clothed the authority to speak to issues of petroleum importation and distribution throughout the country.

A release quoting the management of LPRC urged the public to look up to the company for all information relating to petroleum and petroleum-related activities, including stock balances to be confirmed and/or released by the Management of LPRC.

"Again, we want to assure the general public that there is enough quantity of gasoline and diesel in the country and there is no need to panic."

However, with the statement from the management of LPRC assuring the public of enough petroleum products in the country, the Daily Observer survey conducted yesterday, March 25, 2020, at various filling stations showed that hundreds of Liberians were in found in long queues trying to secure gasoline for fear of possible shortage on the market.

Recently, Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh revealed looming gasoline shortage in six to seven days and called on Liberians to 'tighten their belts.'

Minister Tarpeh also said that the country risks another round of possible gasoline shortage amid the spread of the deadly Coronavirus globally.

He explained that the looming shortage is attributed to the low in-stock supplies of petroleum products in the country.

According to him, due to the current coronavirus crisis globally, Liberia is finding it extremely difficult to have petroleum vessels dock at the Freeport of Monrovia.

Minister Tarpeh has however disclosed that a new supply of petroleum products is expected to arrive in the country within four weeks.

"In the current situation, the level of petroleum product in the market is very low, precariously low and there are two primary reasons for this: the inability of importers to finance import as the result of the situation that we have, coupled with the reconciliation and the dredging of the port," he said.

Minister Tarpeh said: "As we speak, our current level can go within seven to nine days, and the order that we are expecting to receive has been put up for another ten days. But we are confident that the importers assured us to expect 19,000 metric tons which constitute 6,650,000 gallons of gasoline within the next four weeks."

The Commerce Minister's revelation comes in the wake of recent acute gasoline shortage that led to the sacking of the Deputy Managing Director for Operations of the Liberia Petroleum Corporation (LPRC), Bobby Garseyu Brown, and the suspension of all petroleum importers' licenses by President George Weah.

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