Liberia: Lawmaker Rallies Legislature to Shut down if Gasoline Challenge Is Not Addressed In Two Weeks

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Rep. Edward Papay Flomo (District #13, Montserrado County) has vowed to stay away from work in solidarity with the masses if the Executive, through relevant agencies does not address the alarming cute gas shortage on the market within two weeks. Rep. Flomo called on his colleagues to join him, stating it was unfair for officials to commute with their vehicles to work and other places, while thousands of Liberians are struggling to commute because of no gasoline.

Monrovia – Representative Edward P. Flomo (Independent, District #13, Montserrado County), in solidarity with ordinary Liberians, has called on members of the 54th Legislature to park their cars if the situation is not addressed within the next two weeks.

Addressing a news conference at his Capitol Building office on Monday, Rep. Flomo, who vowed to take the lead said it was not fair for officials, including lawmakers to be comfortably commuting with their vehicles to work and other places, while thousands of Liberians cannot easily have access to the product.

Terming the situation as pathetic, Rep. Flomo said the acute gasoline shortage on the market is causing untold suffering for Liberians across the country as businesses are being shut down and citizens cannot commute to work and other places easily because of the hike in transportation fare.

“I would like to call on all of my colleagues to join me in this fight and I give two weeks, if nothing can be done on the issue of this gasoline business, I am going to park my car and stay at home. Because I cannot see the people that we all came here to represent walking along the road while we sit in our cars comfortably and drive to work,” he bemoaned.

Hundreds of stranded and distressed consumers scrambling to purchase gasoline at a local TOTAL petrol station in Monrovia

“It so bad so bad pathetic. Most people’s businesses are shutting down because they cannot get gas to run their businesses. The queue at the gas station is so long. Some of them have been there for weeks. And there is no sign that gas is coming. Even students are finding it difficult to make their way to school. So, government needs to do something for our people. We cannot say we are representing our people and we just sit without doing anything.”

It has been more than two weeks since Liberians became to experience the shortage of gasoline on the market and officials have failed in several attempts to give reasons behind the problem.

While some blame the situation to dredging of the Free port of Monrovia, others maintained that there is enough gasoline to serve the public.

President George Weah, according to an Executive mansion release has set up a special committee to investigate the cause of the acute shortage of gasoline on the market.

Recently, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers constituted a 21-member specialized committee to investigate the situation and report within one week.

Meanwhile, amid the conflicting accounts and as the government grapples to find solution, the situation continues to degenerate.

There have been scenes of endless queues at local gas stations in Monrovia and its environs as consumers and commuters scramble to purchase gasoline.

On a tour of several petrol stations, FrontPage Africa spoke with distressed consumers who expressed disappointment over the situation and the government’s poor response to mitigating the problem.

“It so bad so bad pathetic. Most people’s businesses are shutting down because they cannot get gas to run their businesses. The queue at the gas station is so long. Some of them have been there for weeks. And there is no sign that gas is coming. Even students are finding it difficult to make their way to school. So, government needs to do something for our people. We cannot say we are representing our people and we just sit without doing anything.”

Rep. Edward Papay Flomo (District #13, Montserrado County)
Commuters and consumers including motorcyclists and drivers queued in to purchase gasoline at a local petrol station

Henry Sackie, carrying a medium-sized generator in a wheelbarrow, explained it is was his third attempt at the petrol station to get at least two or three gallons of gasoline for his generator.

Henry said he has been out of current for more than two weeks, leading to the collapse of his water and cool-milk business.

He wants to resume business to buy food for his family.

Also speaking, a motor cyclist only identified as Harry, explaining his ordeal at TOTAL gas station at Samuel K. Boulevard Junction said he has spent two days in the queue attempting to get gas but has not been fortunate. He called on the authorities to intervene before the situation spews out of control.

“I urge the government to do something about it. As you can see, we are suffering and are getting tired with this government. Let them do something to stop this suffering that we are going through,” a dejected Harry pleaded.

Meanwhile, several groups including religious and civil society organizations have expressed their concern over the situation and calling on the government to do all within its powers to bring it under control.

The latest organization to weigh in on the issue is the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY).

In a press conference on Wednesday, FLY called on President Weah to dismiss heads of government agencies responsible for this ‘national disgrace’.

“FLY recommends that the President does all within his power to dismiss heads of government agencies responsible for what is today seen as a national disgrace to his leadership and by extension the good people of Liberia. FLY strongly believe this will serve as a deterrent to other government officials who don’t seem to have the competence in the discharge of their responsibilities in the best interest of the pro poor agenda.”

FLY, through its Deputy Secretary for Administration, Flomo Mau Maiwo said the situation is ‘major impediment’ to the country’s economic growth which is at present affecting the already challenged youthful population.

FLY noted that the “government’s actions through its uncoordinated utterances in past and recent days have not demonstrated decent and reasonable leadership. It has been approximately three weeks of gasoline shortage in the country and the requisite authorities seem to be doing nothing to address the issue.”

Excerpt of the statement: “Disappointingly, no particular authority has taken responsibility for this national embarrassment. At the same time, FLY believes that the National Legislature – the people’s lieutenants – has demonstrated gross incompetence in exercising its oversight responsibilities during this period of national emergency.”

“Moving forward, we call on the government to do away with initiating and responding to the everyday propaganda and focus on meeting the needs of its citizens.”

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