For many years unscrupulous business people that are involved in the distribution and sale of petro at filling stations in the country have been habitually making fast profits by hoarding the commodity, selling above the official pump price designated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as the LPRC. Of course such had been done at the detriment of the consuming public, and the image of the government of Liberia.
When there is a lack of stringent measures to seek the interests of the general public, unscrupulous petrol sellers engage in all sorts of vices to increase their profit margins such as the hoarding of petrol or selling the commodity at exorbitant prices to vehicle operators.
Indeed in cases of such negligence on the part of stakeholders in government circles, vehicle operators very often resort to arbitrary increases in transportation charges under the excuses of recovering some their expenses in buying the hoarded petroleum commodities on the black market or at petrol stations.
The saying usually goes that 'no business person would like to do business at a loss'; thus eventually it is the general public that bears the brunt of price increases, in the absence of government intervention to regulate prices and to monitor malpractices. In the absence of procedures, while many vehicles are in long queues to access petrol that are rationed to petrol stations during fears of imminent artificial shortage, others sell gallons of petrol at street corners and in the dark at exorbitant prices to vehicle operators that can afford to mitigate standing in long queues.
The LPRC management, together with other stakeholders were swift enough to Have organized a security Task force under the supervision of the LPRC Security Unit comprising of the Liberia National Police, LPRC Security Unit and inspectors of the Ministry of Commerce ,
The stringent measures instituted by the LPRC included asking the general public to report to LPRC hotline cell: 0777901901 any instances of fraud in the distribution and sale of the petroleum products as a gallon of petrol is set at LD$310 and a gallon of fuel oil is set at LD$325. Whistle blowers also have the option to report such malpractices through the Ministry of Commerce hotline: cell# 0880702865 or to cell #0777605075.
We commend the LPRC and stakeholders for their vigilance, which is today one reason why the long queues at filling stations in and around Monrovia, have eventually disappeared abruptly. Many vehicle operators are now breathing a sigh of relief for the embarrassment that was hanging in the horizon.
Indeed while we appreciate these bold measures that were put in place by the LPRC including making sure that expected ship loads of the petrol consignments arrive in the country on the expected 12th and 14th December time-frame, to ward off shortage on the Liberian market, it is equally our candid hope that the above security measures that became a success story in Monrovia will be replicated across the country, as 'Liberia is not Monrovia'.