Brima Baluwa Koroma
By: Austine Luseni
Executive Chairman of Petroleum Regulatory Agency has said that even though global oil prices hit a record high in months, Sierra Leone’s pump price remains stable and the cheapest at Le 7,000 (Seven Thousand Leones).
Brima Baluwa Koroma was speaking on the global oil pricing system at their tower Hill office recently where he informed that even though oil prices climbed to the highest levels in months, with prices closed at around $180 and $236 for petrol and diesel respectively in March 2020, prices had rallied more than $400 by the end of June.
Mr Koroma, however, indicated that even though the rise in global oil prices had necessitated an upward adjustment in pump prices in the country, President Julius Maada Bio was not unaware of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. ”As a responsible Government, His Excellency the President gave a human consideration to the issue on account of the current pandemic and the cost of living. Government has so far decided to bear the burden to cushion the effect of the coronavirus on citizens. This is why there has been no upward adjustment in the price. So, prices were frozen in May and June with the same applying to July,” he noted.
Mr Koroma further went on to say that during the June pricing review, all petroleum products breached the 5% trigger mechanism with Petrol drawing 26.5%, 27.2% for Diesel, 30.8% for Kerosine and with MFO drawing 20.1%.
While making a comparative analysis between pump prices in Sierra Leone and other Mano River Basin or West African countries, the executive chairman said that Sierra Leone was selling at the lowest prices compared to countries like Ghana and The Gambia that were selling at an equivalent of Le 8,000 and Le 9,000.
On the impact of the coronavirus on the petroleum sector, Mr Koroma said the industry experienced a drop in petroleum sales by 16% month-to-month in June and 11% year-on-year. He, however, confidently stated that the industry remains resilient with a lesser impact on revenue while assuring that the sector was well-positioned and was on course to recover and bounce back in the second half of the year.