Hoarding of Petroleum Products Sparks Hike in Transport Fares

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As of the afternoon of Wednesday, November 29, several petroleum service stations started hoarding gasoline and diesel in many parts of Monrovia and Paynesville due to increases in the cost of the commodity at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).

Several gas station owners told commercial and private vehicle owners in Paynesville and Monrovia that they should be ready to buy a gallon of super gas for L$500.

When contacted, some petroleum dealers denied hoarding the commodity and only cautioned that the Liberian government should act swiftly to bring the embarrassing situation under control.

Commercial driver Abdullah Kromah, 45, who walked into the offices of the Daily Observer at ELWA Junction in Paynesville, intimated that some gasoline dealers have shut down their service stations due to the sharp increase in the wholesale prices of petroleum products.

“I visited three gas stations early this morning (yesterday) and dealers of the products told me that they did not have gas and diesel fuel in stock,” he reported.

Kromah stressed the need for government to take practical steps and swiftly address the current escalation in prices of petroleum products as Liberians are already encountering financial difficulties.

In another interview,  a gasoline retail dealer at the old Telecom Paynesville Exchange, Matthew B. Hunk,  said he bought petroleum products yesterday at a very high cost and will not sell his gas without making some profit.

During a tour of the Paynesville commercial district, several gas stations were alleged to be hiding petroleum products in isolated areas and selling the commodity at very high prices. As a result, commercial drivers have begun to triple transport fares to the detriment of commuters.

Yesterday, some gas stations along the route from Red Light to Duport Road as well as the route leading to the Roberts International Airport (RIA) had taken their dispensing pumps out of service and displayed “No Gas” signs to keep customers away.

Commercial drivers were charging commuters from Red Light to central Monrovia L$150 instead of the regular fare of L$90.

Commuters at the ELWA Junction in Paynesville told the Daily Observer yesterday that commercial drivers were charging them L$90 and L$100 from the Junction to Monrovia.

At Red Light, Duport Road and ELWA Junction, several commuters were seen stranded due to the unexpected hike in transport fares.

Some of the commuters said they are urgently appealing to the ministries of Commerce and Transport to intervene in order to ease the difficulties at the hands of commercial drivers which has also affected the movement of goods and services..

Commuters expressed grave concern at the alarming jump in transport fares and called on the ministries of Commerce and Transport to step in and bring the situation in Monrovia and its environs under control.

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