Fuel Shortage Affects Hospitals, Businesses

By Victor C. Hanson, Jr. & Garmonyou Wilson

The scarcity of diesel fuel oil on the Liberian market has caused serious problem in the country that is said to be affecting private businesses and some government institutions in the country.   In an interview with several business owners yesterday in Monrovia, they said that the scarcity of the commodity on the Liberian market is causing serious setback for their businesses.

Some of the affected business people who spoke to this paper complained that the situation is also affecting hospitals, and almost everybody in the country. The businessmen and women further complained that there has been a percentage increase in transportation fares due to the hike in the price of fuel.

Some of them complained that they are finding it difficult to get to their various destinations due to the shortage of commercial vehicles as many of them have been parked due to the scarcity of fuel and the percentage increase.

Businessmen and women added that if the situation continues for many days, there will be serious problem in the country and that their operations will undoubtedly cease because they will not continue to use their private generators and other devices.

Among other things, the business people have appealed to the Liberian Government for quick intervention to have the fuel situation resolved.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), T. Nelson Williams says the country is currently experiencing a fuel issue and not a fuel shortage.

Speaking yesterday at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s (MICAT) weekly press briefing, the Director General of LPRC said that a ship coming from Europe would be arriving in the country today, February 14, 2014, bringing along with it some two million dollars of fuel.

According to the LPRC Boss the ship which should have been in the country since Monday encountered some technical problems, but the ship has ever since been repaired and would be in the country today.

The LPRC Boss said that the country has different means of obtaining fuel; one is through shipping which with the malfunction of the ship failed, another is from Ivory Coast, but Ivory Coast is currently undergoing repairs and could not facilitate Liberia’s fuel needs at this time.

Mr. Nelson did acknowledge that the LPRC has about 157,000 gallons of fuel that is being distributed to several different major installations.

He said that the Liberia Electricity Corporation has received some eleven thousand gallons of fuel, gas companies such as Total, Special Petroleum and National Petroleum. He added that hospitals, businesses and hotels have received some fuel to keep them operating until today’s shipment arrival.

Mr. Williams further said that LPRC is working along with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ensure that some unscrupulous individuals don’t take advantage of the situation and try to hike the price of fuel.

He then appealed to Liberians to bear with them until the situation returns to normalcy.

For several days, Liberians have been left in the dark as fuel shortage around the country has caused many business institutions both private and public to shut down.

Speaking at the weekly press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) yesterday the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy said that a technical inspection would aim at ensuring that gas stations are following regulations in the sale of petroleum products on the local market.

Minister Addy said that the ministry has a device to check fuel pumps and ensure that dealers are following rules and regulations in pricing.

He said that a seal would be put inside fuel pumps that would monitor that pump which cannot be removed unless by someone working for the ministry.

The Commerce Minister also said that anyone trying to fraud the system will be dealt with by the law and citizens can report such instances by visiting the ministry on the internet or by calling 0880-702-865.