Makeni, SIERRA LEONE – Petrol scarcity in Makeni has sent shockwaves through the community, disrupting daily life and causing a surge in internal transportation costs. This predicament unfolded over the past two days as numerous petrol stations, including major players like National Petroleum (NP), ceased regular sales of petroleum products, particularly petrol.
Gas stations in the region have either suspended sales or implemented rationing, compelling commercial motorbike riders to charge passengers double the normal rates. This unforeseen shortage has left riders with no alternative but to purchase petrol from black market sources at inflated prices ranging between NLe 35 to NLe 37.
In interviews conducted at petrol stations, motorbike riders waiting in queues expressed their frustration to Awoko Newspaper, revealing that they have been forced to procure petrol at NLe 35 per litre from black market vendors since Monday morning. This escalation in prices is a direct consequence of the rationing and suspension of petrol sales at official gas stations.
These riders emphasized that they have no choice but to buy petrol at elevated prices from the black market to sustain their transportation services. Failing to do so would render them unable to work due to the prevailing scarcity of petrol in the city. Consequently, passengers are now facing slightly increased fares as a result of these circumstances.
While gas station owners and managers have remained tight-lipped about the situation, pump attendants interviewed by Awoko Newspaper on Tuesday evening disclosed that their stations have not received supplies from the terminal in Freetown. Consequently, they have been instructed to ration sales and have halted all transactions since 8:00 AM on Tuesday, aiming to conserve reserves for private companies and government officials until the expected arrival of new supplies on Friday.
The petrol scarcity has significantly disrupted normal life in Makeni and its environs, with students and residents grappling to afford the heightened prices for internal transportation. Despite mixed feelings among residents, with some speculating a potential increase in pump prices, officials from the Petroleum Regulatory Authority in Makeni have refuted this claim, asserting that the current scarcity is artificial.
Nonetheless, if not promptly addressed, the ongoing situation could potentially have adverse economic implications on transportation and daily life in Makeni and its surrounding areas. Authorities are urged to take swift action to alleviate the challenges posed by this petrol scarcity. ARW/29/11/2023