The Petroleum Importers Association of Liberia (PIAL) has warned that its members face possible bankruptcy if the current price of petroleum remains the same as they are running into losses.
The group in a press release issued over the weekend, stressed that due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, both prices for diesel and gasoline have been marching higher for months thus delivering a fresh jolt to the world economy, rising prices, and higher energy bills, which have increased the prospects of the global recession.
At present, the wholesale price of gas per gallon is US$5.48 while the pump price is set at US$5.66. As for diesel (fuel), the wholesale price per gallon is US$5.82, while the pump price is US$6.00.
But the situation, according to Importers, is beyond the control of the Liberian government and the importers as such, there is an urgent need for the Liberian government to address the current prices which were increased by a whopping 26% for gasoline and 32% for diesel in March this year.
Russia is a major player in global energy markets. It is one of the world’s top three crude oil producers, vying for the top spot with Saudi Arabia and the United States. And the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, behind the United States, and has the world’s largest gas reserves.
But Russia’s oil and gas sectors have been hit by western sanctions and recently, the oil sector was hit by a European Union’s oil embargo, which could realign global energy trading and enrich producers as Europe buys energy from more distant suppliers.
“There is an increase in world market prices and premiums on petroleum products due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. This has increased our cost by about $1.00 on both Diesel and Gasoline as petroleum products are priced daily based on World market price movements,” the group stated.
“This is beyond the control of any government and the importers. The current prices set by the government, therefore, puts us in losses which are not sustainable and could lead to bankruptcy of our companies,” the statement added.
“In addition, amidst the current scarcity of petroleum products on the world market, there is a limited amount of stocks in the country and we need to procure stocks in time to have products readily available on the Liberian market. We call on the government to address this situation in the soonest possible time,” the group emphasized.
Presently, there are more than seven registered importers who ensure that adequate petroleum products are on the Liberian market. They include West Oil; Total Liberia Ltd (now Conex Petroleum), Aminata & Sons, National Petroleum, Srimex Enterprise, Petro Trade, Lib-Afric, and Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation.
But in reaction to the Importers assertion, the Ministry Commerce and Industry rejected the group’s request and disclosed that it will make no further increases in the price of gasoline and jet fuel for the month of June, but intends to make a slight reduction in the price of fuel.
The ministry in an release issued added that instead of increasing prices, they are working with importers of petroleum products to ensure that there is sufficient stock in the country to serve the market for the next couple of months.
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