-Sen. Teahjay Brands LPRC, NPA, MOCI Failure To Take Preventive Measures Against Gasoline Shortage
Sinoe County Senator Milton Teahjay has branded officials of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC), National Port Authority (NPA) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) as gross incompetent for their failure to take preventive measures in the current shortage of gasoline on the Liberian market.
Liberia has for three weeks being hit with acute shortage of gasoline on the market with the Minister of Commerce, Wilson K. Tarpeh making statement that the product is enough on the market, as Liberians continue to stand in long queues at filling stations in Monrovia and parts of the country.
Based on the acute shortage, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon wrote the plenary of the Liberian Senate calling on relevant authorities of government to appear and explain reasons behind the acute shortage of the most used petroleum products on the market.
Taking the witness stand on Thursday February 6, 2020, Commerce Minister, Wilson K. Tarpeh said his earlier announcement of enough gasoline being in the country was based on data presented to him.
At the Ministry of Commerce, we rely on physical verification, but we rely on LPRC to give us statistics from their tanks. Currently major importers are TOTAL, SP and Aminata, but new consignment will arrive soon. We are facing the problem because bigger vessels couldnt dock at the Freeport, Minister Tarpeh said.
According to him, they are investigating what really went wrong that resulted in the long queues for gasoline in the country. He added we have enough products until the next vessels can arrive, but the LPRC carrying on rehabilitation, Comex is providing storage and TOTAL is providing gasoline along with SP. The three major importers are TOTAL, SP and Aminata.”
Speaking on the issue, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC), Marie Urey Coleman said they are doing their utmost best to ensure enough petroleum on the market and avoid the recurrence of the current situation.
We are in the hands of our importers. The importers didnt follow the earlier warning from the National Port Authority over the dredging of the port. 20,000 metric tons of gasoline expected between February 14-15, 2020 and we are going back to the drawing board and we cautioning the importers because they signed agreement with the government through the LPRC and they need to be definite, MD Coleman.
The team revealed that the country imports 22,000 metric tons of gasoline every month.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway announced that dredging has begun at the port which will enable bigger vessels to dock at the port.
“We were informed that the debris was increasing and there was a need to do dredging. We informed all shipping lines and importers about this decision earlier, he said.
Senator Milton Teahjay:
After the presentations from the governments agencies, Senator Milton Teahjay described them as gross incompetent officials because their actions would have caused demonstration.
Some heads will roll. Those who need to be penalized will be penalized and we will deal with the issues decisively, he said.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister responding to the Sinoe County lawmaker said he (Sen. Teahjay) has right to his opinion. He added I dont agree with a disgrace. The honorable has right to his opinion,
The officials from the Executive Branch were mandated to work with the Joint Committees of the Liberian Senate on Commerce and Public Corporations to ensure the situation is resolved.