Sierra Leone has no plans to reduce pump prices of petroleum products, officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA) said here Wednesday.
The government has been under pressure to cut down fuel prices. Those who called for this cite the fall in global petroleum prices as a justification. A group of civil society organizations last week issued a statement calling on the government to heed the call.
Some groups have gone a step further by threatening unspecified action if the government failed to heed to call to reduce fuel prices.
But the government has always cited the huge subsidies being paid to import petroleum products into the country and said reduction in pump prices will be counter-productive.
On Wednesday, officials at a press conference reiterated this position. They said despite general concerns, fuel prices were still the lowest in the sub-region of the Mano River Union, which comprises Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
Sierra Leone last cut down its pump prices in January 2015, from Le4, 500 (US$0.9) to Le3750 (US$0.75) per liter.
“The PRA reiterated that the current fuel pump prices of Le3, 750 per liter continues to be the lowest in the Mano River Union, compared to the pump prices in Guinea and Liberia and, irrespective of the reported recent reductions in pump prices in those countries,” a statement by the agency reads in part.
It stressed that the percentage fall in the international market prices did not commensurate with percentage reduction in local pump prices.