The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) yesterday announced new prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and fuel oil in the country. Before the announcement, oil marketers, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance had series of consultations where they addressed challenges facing the industry.
Making the announcement, the Executive Chairman of PRA, Dr. Brima Baluwa Koroma, said that petrol, diesel, and kerosene, will now be sold at Le8,500 while fuel oil will be sold at Le7,500. He said that the prices were adjusted in order to meet the best interest of Sierra Leoneans and the industry.
Chairman Koroma said that oil prices are determined by certain factors which include the price of oil and Leones strength against the US dollars and both of them are risk factors to the landing cost.
“The prices of crude oil and refined petroleum products significantly increased during the period under review by 19.9% on average (494.16-744.81). This led to a 20.7% increase in the landed cost of the petroleum products,” he said.
The Chairman cited strong economic growth in China and improved growth in America as another factor for pushing the demand side of oil market and the political unrest in Iran also has made the industry to be unpredictable. “No compassionate Government like ours with human face will like her people to pay more for petrol. But again government-imposed price restrictions would only make matters worse. This government may wish to legally make petrol abundant and cheap, but we can only control supply or demand and cannot control both forces of supply and demand,” he noted.
The Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Jusu said that Sierra Leone has the lowest price of oil products in the sub-region. He said that the New Direction Government is committed to seek the interest of Sierra Leoneans.
Mr. Jusu said that the Economic Governance Performance of the government has impressed the International Monetary Fund which has made them to approve US$21.6 Million for the country.
The Managing Director of the National Petroleum, Mr. Kobi Walker commended the PRA and the Ministry of Trade and Industry for a fruitful dialogue that brought about the new price changes. He said that oil marketers have been running into loss with previous prices but now that relevant stakeholders have stepped in, they promise to deliver effective services.
Mereweather Thompson, Chief Professional Head at the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that all stakeholders were engaged during the consultation before they arrived at the new prices. He commended the PRA Chairman for steering the wheel throughout the negotiation period.