Liberia: ‘Gasoline Available for 12 Days Nationwide Supply’ – LPRC Discloses

The Commerce Minister’s pronouncement of an imminent shortage of gasoline and the lack of finance to import product led to the rush for available products and caused crowdedness at filling stations

MONROVIA – Amid the long queues at filling stations in the country, the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) has disclosed that a total of 1.1 million metric tons of gasoline which is equivalent to 70,000 gallons, along with 1.2 million metric tons of fuel is in the country.

Appearing Thursday, March 26, 2020 before a special ad-hoc committee chaired by Maryland County Senator, J. Gbleh-bo Brown, the Deputy Managing Director for Administration at LPRC, Stanley S. Ford informed the committee that the current products in the country are expected to last for the next 12 days.

However, Mr. Ford further disclosed that from Friday, March 27, to April 2, 2020 the LPRC expects a vessel that will dock with 25,000 metric tons or 13.75 million gallons of gasoline in the country.

According to the LPRC Deputy Managing Director, the vessel is on its way to Freetown following which it will arrive in Monrovia with the expected products.

Contrary to the statement made recently by the Minister of  Commerce Wilson Tarpeh that there is an expected shortage of gasoline in the country, the LPRC Deputy MD assured the Senators that there are products to serve the public before the arrival of the expected vessel.

He added that the long queues that are now being experienced at filling stations are out of fear due to coronavirus outbreak that there would be a shortage of products, especially, when countries that export the products are equally affected by the outbreak.

“Honorable Senators, we have been working with the importers and they have given us assurances on the availability of products,” he said.

The LPRC DMD at the same time told the Senators that the LPRC is currently working on its expanded storage facility to stores up to 12,000 metric tons, adding “Our goal is to be able to store enough products up to six to seven months”.

He asserted that in recent times, the LPRC was giving out 50,000 gallons of gasoline per day, but due to the rush, it is now giving out 70,000 gallons a day.

Also speaking at the hearing, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Wilson Tarpeh clarified that his recent statement was meant as an alert of a possible shock due to the global crisis.

“Senators, I will be very careful because, this is the similar presentation I made a few days ago at the House of Representatives that got grossly abused,” Min. Tarpeh.

“In this global crisis there has been a disruption of world trade and commerce and as a country, these things will equally happen to us. Is it not our fault, therefore, we need to strengthen our sub-regional trading, because most of the countries we depend on for our product are also affected.”

According to Minister Tarpeh, due to the unattended consequences, there is a need to now put LPRC in the capacity to bring the products themselves, thereby making macro-economic adjustment.

Many Senators cautioned the relevant entities to coordinate their activities so as to avoid the gaps in information sharing.

In closing, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Brown called on the LPRC to have a monthly engagement with the importers so as to have first-hand information in order to take the necessary actions that would avoid the shortage of products.