By Bill W. Cooper
The shortage of gasoline on the Liberian market is said to be worsening on-a-daily basis as the citizenry, taxi drivers, motorcyclists and kehkeh riders are finding it very difficult to buy gasoline products from various filling stations in the country.
Recently, the government through the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) in a press statement issued January 21,2020 said that there was sufficient quantity of fuel supply to meet the domestic needs of the country and that “there is absolutely no fuel shortage in the country.”
Despite the government’s claims that “there is absolutely no fuel shortage in the country,” there are clear indications that there is indeed a speculative artificial gasoline shortage on the market, as citizens have been stranded in getting gas for the past five days.
Our reporter who visited several gas filling stations yesterday observed the influx of cars, kehkehs, motorcyclists and even citizens in queue who had gone to buy gasoline product but could not due to the no-gas syndrome, as many were left with no option but to spend the night there in order to be served first upon the arrival of petroleum products.
According to our reporter, the situation seems to be causing serious panic among citizens as some of them were seen expressing their frustration in fury.
Our reporter further stated that early yesterday morning around the Paynesville Duport Road belt; he saw a taxi driver and a passenger in a tussle for being overcharged by the driver from Monrovia to Paynesville.
Our reporter said that the lady later informed him that she was charged by the driver to pay the sum of LD180 from Town to Paynesville, something she described as “stealing”, but when contacted, the driver admitted to the lady’s accusation but blamed his attitude towards the demands in getting gasoline and the increase of the gas price, which he said he bought yesterday for LD1, 500 for a gallon.
Some of the stranded drivers who our reporter managed to speak to told this paper that due to the struggle they are going through in getting gasoline left them with no option but to increase the transportation fares, adding, “You cannot go and spend almost the whole day at a gas station and expect to be a loser.”
A private car owner, Prince Toe who could not mention his working place said that the government has not been fair to its citizens when it comes to informing them about the happenings in their country, stressing, “You cannot have a government sitting and looking at its citizens struggling, and decide to do nothing about it and ignore their plights.”
He added that if the situation continues in the coming days and that the government fails to address the gasoline shortage, he foresees a serious mass demonstration anytime soon, as they can no longer continue to struggle in their own country like foreigners.
Meanwhile, famous talk show host, Henry P. Costa who is presently in the US posted on his Facebook page says, “The Port of Monrovia couldn’t receive large vessels because it has not been dredged or cleared of dirt for more than two years, something he blames the gas shortage for.
Responding to his claims, the National Port Authority (NPA) public relation officers, Malcolm Scott said that MT PLATYTERE- LOA 183 meters (a petroleum vessel) is currently in harbor at the LPRC, stating that Costa’s assertion is false and misleading.
Buttressing Costa’s assertion, an insider from one of the filling stations who spoke to this paper on anonymity said the reason for the petroleum shortage on the market is due to the government’s failure to dredge the port since it was last dredged making it impossible for the port to receive large vessels.
Gasoline Crisis Worsening
By Bill W. Cooper