A day after long queues were seen at the various gas stations across the city, the Oil Marketers yesterday announced an increase in the pump price of petrol by Le1,550 to meet the current hike in the world market.
Announcing the increase yesterday at a press briefing at the National Petroleum headquarters at Cotton Tree, the Managing Director of Safecon Amadu Ndoeka announced that petrol has been increased from Le12, 950 to Le14, 500 per gallon, while the same price has been maintained for both diesel and kerosene.
Fuel oil has been increased from Le6,000 to Le7,785 per gallon.
Mr. Ndoeka explained that the reasons for this are the dramatic changes that have been taking place in the international oil market since early this year, and which continue to impose impossible conditions for the retention of the current pump prices in the country.
He gave the assurance that there is no shortage in the market, and observed that “since October 2006 the petroleum price in the international market has been increasing from somewhere in the US$60 range and now we are talking about US$90, so you have seen how substantive these increases have been”.
According to the Safecon General Manager, “there are two factors, in the pricing formula that always enable us to adjust the price either to increase or decrease,” and these factors are the platts and the exchange rates, which are factors that are outside their control.
Mr N’doeka continued that as a result of the increases in the world market prices “we have to adjust the pump prices to enable us to even recover the cost of the product, so we can continue to import and sell to the consuming public”.
Journalists were told that during the period from October to now, there have been increases in the procurement price of petrol by $228.2 per metric ton, diesel by 280.1 per metric ton, kerosene by 318.6 per metric ton and marine fuel oil (MFO) by 180.25 per metric ton.
Mr. N’doeka assured the public that the situation will be under constant review and promised that the prices will be reviewed downwards or upwards as the trend dictates.
The price change according to other speakers could have been effected before the elections but was put on hold because of its implications.
Mr Mohamed Cole of the National Petroleum categorically stated after persistent questions about the availability fuel that “there is no shortage of the product, the products are available, all the products,” observing that what has happened recently was panic buying, as whenever they started negotiating price with the government the news goes out and people start panic buying. For the past couple of days he said, “we have been putting out more than twice what we sell, and people who have no business with petroleum products buy and hoard for black market purpose.” Following the increase in pump price Samuel Alie Kargbo the Administrative Officer of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation also announced an increase in transport fares.
Transportation cost within the Western Urban area and the City has been increased to not more than Le100. Commuters plying the provincial route would now pay an additional Le1,000, while Tagrin to Lungi has also been slightly upgraded. School children in uniform will however continue to pay the same old price of Le500. Another issue that the Ministry of Transport and Aviation is currently tackling is the most common practice of commercial vehicles dropping passengers half way and asking them to pay the full fare.