CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS RENEW CALL FOR THE REDUCTION OF PUMP PRICE OF FUEL AND GIVE ULTIMATUM TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE.
In the last couple of weeks Civil society and Sierra Leoneans have heard some disturbing comments from state officials suggesting that the pump price of fuel cannot be reduced as the government is still indirectly subsidising fuel that is sold at filling stations. These comments were made after a number of leading civil society organisations issued a press release urging the government of Sierra Leone to reduce the pump price of fuel.
The Civil Society coalition for fuel pump price reduction respectfully submits that the current mode of subsidising fuel does not benefit the average Sierra Leonean and that in any case the amount of subsidy provided by the government cannot justify the current pump price of fuel in the country.
We the above mentioned Civil Society Coalition are urging the Government of Sierra Leone and other relevant stake holders to review the pump price of fuel to reflect the massive reduction in the price of crude oil on the international market.
We are concerned that Instead of reducing the pump price of fuel it seems as if the oil marketers have decided to reduce the amount of fuel available for sale in fuel stations, resulting in the reappearance of long queues at filling stations across the country and fuel cost per litre reaching the Le. 10,000 (Ten thousand Leones) mark in the provinces. We consider it as very unfortunate and unfair that all motorists, while being surcharged and forced to pay a higher price for fuel, are being further demoralised by being forced to queue for fuel at various filling stations across the country.
“This is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable and we will not sit by and allow the government of Sierra Leone to treat the poor who are in the majority with such blatant disregard. We are therefore calling on the government to investigate the oil industry in the country for any possible fraud in view of this” says Edmund Abu, Executive Director, Native Consortium and Research Centre and Native Think Tank (NCRC – NTT), a lead player in the civil society campaign for the reduction of fuel pump price
We also want to draw government’s attention to a reduction done on the pump price in 2015 to reflect on the price of transport across the board and fix the ‘pole to pole’ price for motor bikes, ‘poda podas’ (local buses) and taxis at Le 500 (Five hundred Leones). The failure of government to effect the price changes after the Ebola restrictions on transport managers were lifted, has exposed the citizenry to cheating by unscrupulous taxi, Poda Poda, and motor bike owners.
We are hopeful that the Government of Sierra Leone and oil marketers will now do the right thing by reducing the pump price of fuel to Le. 2,000 (Two thousand Leones). This will certainly benefit many suffering Sierra Leoneans who have been forced to spend more of their hard earned incomes commuting to and from their daily activities.
We do not wish to go down this path but should the government refuse to pay heed to our call, we shall rely on all legitimate means, including staging a peaceful protest over such a blatant exploitation of the poor citizens of Sierra Leone.
We therefore urge the Government of Sierra Leone and fuel marketers to resolve this issue within the next 14 days, failing which we shall be will be left with no alternative but to use all the legal instruments available to call for a nationwide demonstration.
This press release has been signed by the following Civil Society Organisations across Sierra Leone and more are due to follow as we proceed with our advocacy on behalf of the poor people of Sierra Leone:
NCRC – NTT, RWI, Pikin to Pikin Movement, Sierra Leone Debating Council, SPAD-SL, NATAHR Centre Sierra Leone, NMYCW-SL, TYPE Sierra Leone, YPPD, EJN-SL, Sis-Tec- Sierra Leone, HIRSL, CHARGO, NMJD, SDI, CHRDSL, AMHHR, CCYA, Green scenery, ICOD-SL, MSP and CARL.
Edmond J Abu (Jr)
(NCRC – NTT)
Civil Society coalition for fuel pump price reduction – Lead coordinator