As the price of oil continues to drop globally, Liberia is yet to experience the impact of the price decline here at home, Montserrado County District #13 Representative Saah Joseph has disclosed.
Rep. Joseph said that despite the relatively low price of a barrel of oil on the world market, the price of petrol in Liberia remains high.
Rep. Joseph argued that there should have been a significant reduction in the price of petrol in the country, adding that, instead the current price of petroleum is still determined by the matrix used in December 2014 when a barrel of oil on the world market was US$60.
The Montserrado lawmaker disclosed that existing price per barrel of oil in the world market is presently at US$32.96, which is nearly half of the 2014 world market price and as such it must have a significant downward shift on the current price of petroleum commodities in the country.
In a letter dated January 19 to Speaker J. Alex Tyler, he stated that the oil regulatory arm of the government should have pressed for a corresponding adjustment to the price of the commodity on the local market as was the case in the past.
Rep. Joseph’s letter, read on Tuesday, January 19 during the third day sitting of plenary, said, “Over the past few months, we have all witnessed a plunge in the price of a barrel of oil on the international market. At the same time, there has been no appreciable reduction in the pump price of a gallon of gasoline or diesel on the local market in line with the pricing regime being instituted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).
“This is not only unfair to our consumers, but depicts a degree of ineffectiveness in the eyes of the public should we fail to act. Therefore, I pray that this plenary see reason to summon the Minister of Commerce and the Managing Director of LPRC to appear before this body to explain why the retail price of petroleum products on the domestic market is not being adjusted concomitantly with the reduction of the price of a barrel of oil on the international market.”
Rep. Joseph explained that from January to December 2015 the price of a barrel of oil in the world market “was comparatively stumpy,” which should have supported the reduction of the price of petroleum in the country. Joseph blamed the Ministry of Commerce and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) for this mishap.
Meanwhile, the letter from Rep. Joseph was forwarded to the committees on Ways, Means and Finance and Commerce to investigate and advise plenary in two weeks.