The 20-man Specialized Committee set-up to Investigate the Shortage of Petroleum Products has been ‘asked’ by the House of Representatives to specifically “names of staff in the management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) who should be held liable for the acute gas shortage experienced on the Liberian market for about a month.
The House of Representatives has also voted for the Committee to name the “names” of the Petroleum Importers who are indebted to other Petroleum Importers, in the amount between US$9 million – US$12 million.
The House’s Plenary voted on the “new mandates” following a preliminary report from the Special Committee to investigate the Shortage of Petroleum Products on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 — the 13th day sitting.
Tuesday’s report from the House’s Specialized Committee is the third preliminary report in three weeks, with previous reports accusing the LPRC of “Lying under oath” that there was sufficient gas in the country.
The Committee said that it has preliminarily observed that the LPRC boss’ statement is very contrary to a statement she made that there was enough gasoline in the country for February.
In yesterday’s report, the Specialized Committee said in order to determine the cause of the shortage of petroleum products, she met the nine importers in the country, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and the Management of the LPRC.
In its finding, the Committee said it has observed the following: “That the products that should have been ordered in October 2019 that could have prevented the shortage were not made due to financial capacity issues; that the LPRC does not have or has abandoned inventory control and safeguard mechanisms such as Automatic Tank Gauging (ATG), Transparency Report, and minimum reorder stock requirement, etc, thereby leading to discrepancies between what is documented on paper and what is actually in the tanks.”
“Other findings indicated that the provisional lifting as allowed by LPRC has created huge indebtedness of importers to one another to the extent that some importers are experiencing financial constraints; that dredging the Port was not an issue as Port users were adequately informed to bring in smaller vessels and that LPRC management did not make full and truthful disclosure to the Special Committee during engagement.”
In order to avoid recurrence of the acute gasoline shortage, the Committee made eight recommendations, as followed: “ that the practice of provision lifting as allowed by LPRC be discontinued immediately; that importers who benefitted from provisional lifting and still indebted to other importers be made to settle their indebtedness; and that the LPRC digitizes its inventory monitoring and control process to include installation of Automatic Tank Gauging to safeguard products.”
The remaining recommendations include: “routine physical inventory verification process be carried out by LPRC; that minimum reorder point of three months stock be introduced; Transparency Report be reintroduced; that the administrative action be taken against the LPRC management for distortion of information and that the Legislative oversight continues with the LPRC until the recommendations are implemented.”