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‘Surcharge On Petroleum Not Enough’ ‘-Citizens Decry Gov’t’s Decision

President Joseph Boakai has issued an Executive Order suspending $0.20 surcharge on petroleum pricing structure with immediate effect, but citizens are saying that this move is not enough to make a significant impact on the cost of fuel.
The Executive Order #128 was issued on March 21, 2024, as part of the Boakai’s Government’s efforts to reduce the high cost of living for its citizens residing within the borders of Liberia.
The President, in the Executive Order, believes that lowering the cost of petroleum will have a positive impact on the lives of Liberians, as it will reduce the cost of goods and services, spur productivity and business profitability, as well as increase revenue for the Government.
The Liberian Constitution allows the President to issue Executive Orders in the public interest and addressing urgent issues paramount to the country’s development, economic stability, and overall improving of the livelihood of the citizens.
According to the order, petroleum products play a pivotal role in the direct improvement of the lives of residents relative to the daily movement of persons, goods and services, and as such, the reduction in the cost of petroleum products will directly reduce overhead cost of productions.
Others are the operations of businesses, thereby improving productivity, and increasing tax payments to government, as well as improving business profitability across the 15 counties of Liberia and its surroundings.
An Executive Mansion release containing the order, added that the reduction and downward adjustment in the cost of petroleum products is in the right direction, as it will make a significant impact in changing the lives of the citizens, alleviate poverty, bring about innovation, job creation, and providing a stable environment.
Meanwhile, the high cost of gasoline and other basic commodities has been a major concern for citizens, who have been struggling to afford basic necessities due to the rising prices since the inception of the Joseph Boakai administration.
Despite the President’s announcement, many citizens are skeptical that the suspension of the surcharge will lead to a significant reduction in gasoline prices, making reference to recent pronouncement by Commerce Minister, Amin Modad, reducing the prices of fuel but to no avail.
Some motorcyclists, kehkeh riders, and taxi drivers spoken to, have all criticized the government for not taking more decisive and practical action to address the root causes of the high cost of fuel, describing the President’s action as political and not practical.
“We appreciate the President’s efforts to reduce gasoline prices, but this move is not enough. The government needs to take more concrete steps to address the underlying issues that are driving up the cost of fuel,” said Moses Dorbor.
He, at the same time, called on the President to prevail on his commerce minister, to ensure a greater transparency in the pricing of gasoline, arguing that the government should provide more information on how prices are determined and ensure that consumers are not being overcharged.

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