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Sierra Leone News: Fuel price reduction….14 days ultimatum to Government

gggCivil Society Coalition for fuel pump price reduction has given the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma 14 days’ ultimatum to reduce fuel price in the country or will stage a protest.
On Thursday, the said Civil Society Coalition issued a press statement urging the Government to reduce the price of pump fuel with an immediate effect because, according to their findings, the current mode of subsidizing fuel does not benefit the average Sierra Leonean, stating that the amount of subsidy provided by the government cannot justify the current pump price of fuel in the country.
“We are urging the government of Sierra Leone and other relevant stakeholders to review the price of fuel to reflect the massive reduction in the price of crude oil in the international market. We are also hopeful that the government and oil marketers will reduce the pump of price fuel to two thousand Leones (Le 2000) and reduce taxi fares to five hundred Leones (Le 500)”.
Thomas Dixon of Salone Times Newspaper read the press statement and maintained that instead of government reducing pump price of fuel there has been shortage of fuel across the country with an increase in prices in some provincial towns and also long queues in filling stations which he described as an unfortunate situation that the government has failed to address.
Thomas Dixon said as civil society organizations yearning for sustainable development, they believe the government is responsible for providing the people with their basic amenities, stating that fuel is an essential amenity therefore the people should have access to it at a more convenient price that reflects the international market.
The fuel reduction saga is very unfortunate and totally unacceptable therefore, he noted, as civil right activists, they will not sit by and allow the government to treat the poor who are in the majority with blatant disregard.
“If the government refuses to heed our call, we shall rely on all legitimate means, including staging a peaceful protest over such a blatant exploitation of the poor citizens. We urged the government and oil marketers to resolve this issue within the next 14 days, failing which we shall be left with no alternative but to use the legal instrument available to call for a nationwide demonstration,” they warned.
The press conference was chaired by Professor Ibrahim Abdallai, Lecturer at Fourah Bay College (FBC) and in his statement he stressed that it is high time Sierra Leoneans voice their opinion with regards to national issues and hold the government responsible if they fail to serve them well.
He said the reduction of fuel price is a national issue because it affects every facet of society in the country and urged the government to ease the fuel price to help the poor and deprived people.
He maintained that the reduction of fuel price in the international market should also reflect in the country’s local market, thereby creating an enabling environment for development and economic growth.
Edmund J Abu of Native Consortium and Research Centre and Native Think Tank (NCRC-NTT) explained the significant and objective of their campaign. Edmund Abu said their campaign is focused on challenging the government where they fail to work towards the development of the people, noting that government should not use subsidy paid to oil markets as an excuse not to reduce fuel price, stating that it is tax payback.
He informed journalists that Government did not pay any fuel subsidy in 2011-2012.
The press release was signed by 21 civil society organizations in the country including NCRC-NTT, RWI, Pikin to Pikin Movement, Sierra Leone Debating Council, SPAD-SL, SDI, CARL, CCYA, CHRDSL, YPPD, Sis-Tec-Sierra Leone and many others.
By Mariam Sulaiman Bah
Friday March 04, 2016

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