As the price of a barrel of crude oil hits the $120 in the international markets local oil marketers have now increased the pump price of petrol from Le13, 500 to Le16, 500.
As expected commuters were the first to feel the pinch as transport fares shot up to a flat Le1,000 (pole to pole) by taxis while ‘Okada’ riders were asking for Le4,000.
All of this came into effect last Friday when the Oil marketers (National Petroleum –NP, Safecon and Total) announced a Le2,000 increase in respect of petrol, diesel and Kerosene, while fuel oil increased by Le982.63cent.
Previously the price of fuel oil – used mainly by the National Power Authority – was pegged at Le Le7,785 but the new pump price is now Le8, 767.63 cents.
Briefing the media on the new price adjustment, the Marketing Manager of the National Petroleum Company, (NP) Sidi Bakarr explained that, “prices of petroleum products have been increasing over time since last year, … all along we have been asking for a review, but the government has been very sympathetic towards the people of this country and twice they pleaded with us to hold back and understand the situation, which we have done in a very proud manner.”
However he said “it got to a point that the price of importing petroleum product got so bad that the government had to subsidize the price which we were selling.”
Sidi Bakarr further explained that this is the extent to which the government had to undergo to try and mitigate any possible increase in the pump price, but “it has now got to a point where the price had gone completely haywire.”
He disclosed that the prices of the product in countries like Guinea and so on, a gallon of petrol is going for about Le19, 000, along with the increases in prices worldwide.
Sierra Leone, he said, rely on importation as it does not refine crude oil, therefore it cannot completely be cut out of the price increase.
As a result of all these imponderables he said the oil marketers faced a situation where they had to revise the pump price upwards.
Since 3rd December he said, the procurement price of petrol has gone up by $175.28 per metric ton, diesel by $294.24 per metric ton, Kerosene by $252.60 metric ton and fuel oil by $84.72 metric ton.
In September 2007 the price of crude oil by barrel was between $73 and $76. By November 2007 the price per barrel had gone up to $90. By March 2008 the price was now $110 and by end April $120. This increase has seen an increase in transportation fare adding to the woes of the already escalating food prices as business people are complaining that transportation cost in having a telling effect on their effort.