The out-going Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Richard Konteh has said that a fuel vessel is expected to dock in Sierra Leone by Friday with 7,500 tons of fuel to address the present crippling fuel scarcity.
The fuel scarcity has almost stalled the transport sector and also affected normal businesses across the country.
The minister assured the public, that the fuel will be discharged as soon as possible to expedite delivery to starving filling stations in the city and major towns nationwide.
The minister disclosed to AWOKO that the fuel will be sold at the normal price of Le4, 500 per litre and cautioned against escalation of prices, due to its high demand.
He expressed shock and dismay, over exploitation of the fuel shortage by greedy businessmen selling in the black market, a whooping sum of Le10, 000 per litre.
He also called on the business community to desist from escalation of prices for basic commodities in the market.
However AWOKO investigations have revealed that fuel stations have rationed the sale of fuel only to chit- holders causing upset among motorists.
Commercial transport fares within the city have unofficially increased by 100% caused by the fuel shortage, an unemployed resident of Lumley Mohamed Sesay was furious during the interview.
He said the Government has not undertaken any responsibility on the fuel scarcity, coupled with non- availability of electricity in some homes, offices and institutions.
Many of the bus or taxi stops around central Freetown and beyond have been overwhelmed by eager commuters wanting to pay any price to take them to their destinations.
He called on the SLRA and the Milian Bus services to provide more buses, so as to ease the transport constraints within the city before the arrival of fuel.
Some of the fuel stations owned by TOTAL, NP, and Safecon amongst others are stuck with different kinds of vehicles, and vast motor-bikes and jerry-can holders gazing at the silent pumps.
“We have been here for some nights without getting a drop of petrol, but we saw some people buying it under our noses,” a taxi-driver leaning on his cab claimed.
Petroleum dealers have also not commented on the scarcity publicly because of claims that the Government has failed to address the annual issue of fuel scarcity.
By Saidu Bah