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PRA boss: ‘oil prices among cheapest in Africa

Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency has stated that even though global oil prices hit record high for several months, Sierra Leone still enjoy one of the cheapest oil prices in Africa.

Brima Baluwa Koroma said fuel stations across the country still continue to sell at a pump price of seven thousand leones (Le 7,000) per liter.

While making a comparative analysis between pump prices in Sierra Leone and other Mano River Union and West African countries, Mr. Koroma stated that the country is selling at the lowest prices compared to countries like Ghana and The Gambia that are selling at an equivalent of Le 8,000 and Le 9,000 respectively.

According to him, although oil prices closed at around $180 and $236 for petrol and diesel in March 2020, they rallied in excess of $400 by the end of June.

He noted that the doubling of oil prices in May this year should have warranted a change in pump price of petroleum products in Sierra Leone from Le 7,000 to between Le 8, 000 and Le 9,000 per liter.

According to him, there has been no upward adjustment in the price because the government has so far decided to bear the burden so as to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on citizens.

“As a responsible government, the President gave a human consideration to the issue on account of the current pandemic and the cost of living. So in actual fact prices were frozen in the months of May and June with same applying to July,” the executive chairman said.

Mr. Koroma further stated 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%.

With regards the impact of COVID-19 on the petroleum sector, the Executive Chairman noted that the industry experienced a drop in petroleum sales by 16% month-to-month in June and 11% year-on-year.

He however stated that the industry remains resilient with lesser impact on revenue, while assuring that they are well positioned and on course to recover and bounce back in the second half of the year.

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