The Sierra Leone government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has subsidized the whopping sum of five billion Leones to the cost of fuel, in an effort to handle the growing increase on pump prices of fuel in the country.
According to the Minister in charge of Trade, Alimamy Koroma, people were speculating that on account of the increasing price of fuel worldwide, that prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel should have increased as well from its current price to something like Le20, 000. “Indeed that should have been the case based on our current pricing formula but we [gov’t] took into account the plight of our people and we did not go by that, knowing the repercussions it may have had”, Koroma said.
To forestall all of these, he said, the government, through his advice, chose to apply a subsidy, using the strategic stock fund to subsidize over a period, “and we have monitored events over time and as of the 14th August this year the subsidy has been withdrawn and fortunately, based on the reduction in the cost of fuel globally, we have now come down to the same level as Le16,500 per gallon. So that is the magic we have played”.
Alimamy P. Koroma further explained that, in the first round when they [gov’t] did the subsidy in March to May, “we subsidized up to 3.1 billion Leones and for this period [June 16 to August 14] it is a little over 5 billion Leones. It is a huge sum of money, and just imagine how much we are going to get out of this”.
Speaking further he said, the price of fuel in Sierra Leone could not be compared to other countries like Guinea.
“In Guinea, fuel is sold at Le 27,000 and the next battle is going to be with the smugglers, now that it is cheap in Sierra Leone”.
The government, Minister Koroma said, was subsidizing about Le3,500 per gallon for diesel between the periods, June 16 to August 14th. Similar amount, he said, was also being subsidized for petrol and kerosene as well.
Minister Koroma also explained that, for government to have kept the prices still at Le16,500 with these subsidies “and now to still keep the price at Le16,500 without the subsidies, is really a magic”, he said boastfully and that, if they [gov’t] were in a hurry to change the prices, then there would have been really disaster.
‘It is good that we applied strategies and we were able to stabilize the prices of fuel’