By Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally
The government of Sierra Leone has liberalized the prices on fuel and gas pomp per litre by a difference of two thousand Leones to apprise a major shock in the oil revenue industry.
Talks were shrouded on government subsidy which the government say the oil marketers have gone a step further making claims of below the margin profit sales as the shock absorbers put in place to mitigate the price hike ceased to be of moment.
Former Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance Mathew Dingy said what it means is that the government subsidy on fuel had gone zero, and stakes in the form of tax levies on oil and gas imports in the country had reached a crescendo point. This meant that the government was neither getting revenue from such levies and the ministry of Finance in the final analyses has to settle the oil marketers a paltry sum to cover for their below the expected price sales.
The statement from Mr Dingy made clear the assumptions earlier propelled that the rise in fuel prices were as a result of a IMF conditionality for the government to secure loans in the course of fighting an ailing economy, since taking over from the past All People’s Congress led administration, which the current regime accused of plundering state resources to abysmal state.
The government in a supplementary budget put forward in the well of parliament announced for the attention of the public a salary increment by 10 percent to mitigate the male-front effect of the rise in prices of fuel and gas for all government workers in the country.
That in essence costs the government a paltry sum in the tune of over Le, 24.6 billion Leones for the period under review.
In the social media, many have had their fair takes on the issue. Here are some posts extracted from Facebook being comments of Sierra Leoneans on the topic.
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY ON FUEL/ ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES AND SERVICES ARE A MAJOR CATALYST FOR OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH.
The facts remains that, GOVERNMENT subsidy on fuel is one of the major catalyst towards our national development or that of any developing nation like Sierra Leone. As most countries in Africa contributes 25/30% subsidy on Gas / Fuel and other essential commodities as a means to curb down inflationary forces in their given countries despite fake IMF conditionality.
Sierra Leone is proud of its natural endowments backed by a potent human resources based, yet the poorest of the poor in Africa since our country gained self rule from BRITAIN 57 years ago.
Basically for various reasons like incompetent leadership, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and bad governance now demonstrated by the Bio Led SLPP administration in 100 days in office. The coming of President JULIUS MAADA BIO was viewed with optimism and a deep sigh of relief. Sadly our country is again on the wrong path of history with so much at stake to accomplish our goals with this typhoid SLPP government on a zigzag direction.
Pls note that :
AN INCREASE ON THE PRICE OF FUEL WILL AUTOMATICALLY PAVE WAY FOR AN INCREASE ON THE PRICES OF BASIC COMMODITIES
Mohamed Sesay Frankly speaking, the prices of fuel is an international crisis not only in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone does not produce oil, so it adjusts to the external prices. The government should subsidise to alleviate the suffering of the masses. No party in power could have left the price unchanged at this particular time. The same crisis happened during APC rule and the government increased prices of fuel. People are just good at criticizing everything now which they embraced under the APC government. Fair criticism is tantamount to being a great patriot regardless of party affiliations. Let’s give real democracy some respect instead of calling the government a junta democracy. Both APC and SLPP parties share almost the same DNA of corruption from time in memorial. Check your history books and pray for a change in Sierra Leone.
Moses Ben Kanu Thank you Honorable Sesay for your candid response. The fact of the matter is that, fuel prices all over the world fluctuates based on the trend of Global economy. Sierra Leone with no exception to such challenges must wisely tackle certain areas that can serve as a threat to spiral inflation. For any increase in fuel without government subsidy will definitely have an adverse effects on goods and services in the country which in turn will contribute to serious suffering of our citizens
Musa Mohamed if you can read between the lines yes. But i will give you a brief explanation for that. Fuel is not controlled or owned by Salone and the price is controlled by OPEC that is oil producing countries. The prices therefore change. EBK used overdraft facility from the bank of sierra Leone to pay the difference in prices which add to our national debt since is paid in dollars which most time his govt did not have enough revenue to cover for the difference. That’s what they call subsidies. Removing subsidies increases prices but help to stop additional liabilities. I guess the present govt think is too early to start adding on the debt which your grandchildren will have to pay for. Hold tight for now no more subsidies the govt is looking for other ways to pay for it. One way is to collect enough revenue or increase production of our resources to pay for it. Secondly you can increase salary to help cushion the austerity bearing in mind what inflation will bring. President have done that by increasing salaries by 10% he should be able to collect enough revenue to pay for that or else will increase the debt. So the world economy, monetary and fiscal policies are difficult issues to understand. Given subsidies for political gain as EBK is not good for our country as i said earlier, it increases our debt,