Liberia: Petroleum Prices Scarcity to Heighten This Week As Importers Hoard over Demand for Price Increment

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MONROVIA – Liberians could begin experiencing what could be a major artificial scarcity of petroleum products beginning this week. FrontPageAfrica in its investigation has gathered that petroleum dealers are withholding their products brought into the country with a demand on the government to adjust prices upward.

Their demands, according to them, are due to the high cost they had to pay to import the products to Liberia. Government reluctance to accept the proposal could cause artificial scarcity of the product on the market.

However, some local dealers who sell to the end-users believe the importers are being dishonest about their demand. According to them, the current product being discussed was brought into the country prior to the current situation.

The price of petroleum products began skyrocketing at the start of the Russian-Ukraine crisis.

The local dealers claim the artificial shortage is a conspiracy by importers who believe they can use their connections and influence on some bigshots in the government to up the prices under the guise of making up for their import expense.

“Imagine, we are used to buying a tanker of gasoline from the importers for around US$2,460 but right now, there is a conspiracy to sell at US$ 2,700. The importers are holding their products at the Freeport and trust me by Monday, the price of a gallon of petroleum products will skyrocket,” a local deal said.

In April, the Government of Liberia (GOL) announced new adjustments in the market price of petroleum products on the Liberian market. The change was in keeping with the government’s promise to review the cost of the commodity in the country whenever the price changes on the international market.

GoL, through the Ministry of Commerce and Industries and the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, announced on Friday, April 1, 2022, that the price of gasoline has been reduced by sixty-one U.S. cents, while diesel fuel is reduced by 53 U.S. cents.

Gasoline retail: U.S.5.00/775LD The Government of Liberia has emphasized that its recent decision to set a new price structure for petroleum products in the country was not arbitrary, but one motivated by external factors. 

Speaking during a special press briefing at the time, Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie said the government acknowledges that the increment is “hard to bite down”, but it is necessary to ensure the constant availability of the products on the market and the stability of the price. “We are hoping that in the next month or so, we can revisit the decision and there can be a decrease”, Minister Rennie said.

Diesel Fuel wholesale: U.S.5.29

Diesel Fuel retail: U.S. 5.47/850LD

The government informs the public that it will deploy inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce to ensure compliance with the new prices; they will also be tasked with monitoring the price circular in an effort to make sure importers and distributors do not undercut competitors and engage in profiteering.

The Government warned that any importer, distributor, or retailer selling above the designated price structure will face the full weight of the law.

The Government of Liberia in March emphasized that its decision to set a new price structure for petroleum products in the country was not arbitrary, but one motivated by external factors. 

Speaking during the special press briefing, Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie said the government acknowledges that the increment is “hard to bite down”, but it is necessary to ensure the constant availability of the products on the market and the stability of the price. “We are hoping that in the next month or so, we can revisit the decision and there can be a decrease,” Minister Rennie said.

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