The newly appointed Minister of Trade and Industry Allieu Pat-Sowe has informed the leadership of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) and the oil marketing companies in Sierra Leone that he is introducing a 3 weeks minimum stock limit that will overwrite the 2 weeks minimum stock limit for fuel products especially petrol and diesel.
This is to ensure the issue of petrol shortage is adequately addressed, the Minister said last Thursday, his first day in his new office on the sixth floor of Youyi Building in Freetown.
Minister Pat-Sowe, a former ship captain, was moved from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to become Sierra Leone’s current Minister of Trade and Industry following President Koroma’s major cabinet reshuffle since 2007 last month.
“My vision is to have a 3 weeks stock limit and we will look at several ways to expand our reserves,” Minister Pat-Sowe said.
The Minister said his responsibility is to serve the people of Sierra Leone. For three and half years he served as Minister in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and during that period he ensured that Fish was always available in the market. He wanted to see that happen with regard to the supply of fuel to the various filling stations across the country. Moving the minimum stock limit from 2 weeks to 3 weeks is to ensure fuel is always available, he said.
This was all part of the familiarization visit of the oil marketing companies and the regulator led by the Executive Chairman Dan Mason of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) to the Minister of Trade and Industry to put faces to names that the minister has been hearing about in the oil industry.
“As a group we have diverse interests but always come together to promote the President’s Agenda for Prosperity,” Mr. Mason said.
Mr. Mason said that they boldly told the government that they would assume the importation of fuel because the companies had the funds, infrastructure to make it happen. He emphasized that they have improved themselves to be reliable providers. The companies are growing and building storage facilities that will exceed the minister’s three weeks minimum, Mr. Mason said.
Briefing the Minister about the current level of the stock, Zenobia Bruno-Gaston, Managing Director of Petrojetty said NP had 838 metric tons last Thursday and 7,000 metric tons would arrive the next day that would last the country for the next 3 to 4 weeks.
Mr. Mason took Minister Pat-Sowe last Friday on a tour of Petrojetty Terminal in Kissy, and to the Kissy Oil Refinery to handover safety gears and fire extinguishers to the workers.