Sierra Leone: CSOs Issue Ultimatum to Govt Reduce Pump Price of Fuel or We’ll Protest!

A coalition of civil society organisations yesterday issued a two-week ultimatum to government and oil marketers for the reduction in the price of fuel, or they will embark on a nationwide demonstration.

Despite several calls from civil society and citizens for a reduction in the pump price of fuel following the sharp decrease in the price of crude oil in the world market, the government, through the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) insists that the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene will remain at Le3, 750, ostensibly because they are still subsidising the products.

During a presser in the conference room of 50/50 Group at Tower Hill in Freetown yesterday, the CSO coalition lead Edmond J. Abu accused the government of dishonesty and cheating the people of Sierra Leone because according to him the latter should not be reminded about their responsibility of reducing the price of fuel when the price of crude oil has plummeted in the world market.

He expressed concern that instead of reducing the pump price, oil marketers have scandalously caused artificial scarcity by reducing the amount of fuel available for sale in fuel stations, resulting in the re-appearance of long queues in stations across the city.

While expressing hope that government and oil marketers will do the right thing by reducing the pump price of fuel to Le2, 000, which will benefit especially poor Sierra Leoneans who spend more on transportation on a daily basis, Mr. Abu said failure to do so would lead them to use all possible legal instruments to call for a nationwide demonstration.

This is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable and we will not sit by and allow the government of Sierra Leone to treat the poor who are in the majority with such blatant disregard. We are urging the government to review the pump price to reflect the massive reduction of crude oil on the international market," he said.

According to him, the current mode of subsidising fuel does not benefit the average Sierra Leonean and that in any case, the amount of subsidy provided by the government cannot in anyway justify the current pump price of fuel in the country.

There was no reaction from government as we went to press yesterday, although officials at the PRA had justified the failure to reduce the price, despite plummeting crude oil prices globally, to a heavy subsidy by government.

Source: All Africa

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