From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Petrol Price all set to Increase Economics supercedes Politics
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jun 21, 2010, 14:40

The Minister of Trade & Industry, David Omatshola Carew has told this writer last evening June 20th 2010 in an exclusive interview that "a political decision" had been finally taken to stop Government subsidies on petroleum products thus leading to an impending increase in the price of fuel at the pump. David Carew said this had been indicated in the Budget Speech of Finance Minister Dr. Samura Kamara for this year when he had stated that come June 30th 2010, there will be no more subsidies on petroleum products. The Trade Minister however evaded to confirm or deny whether the said increase would take place today as was being speculated last evening.

Elaborating on the proposed increase, Minister Carew explained that there was a formula long since established by which the price of petroleum products in-country is determined. He explained that the factors affecting the pump price includes the foreign exchange rate and what he described as "Platt" alongside other factors.

According to Carew, although the US$ forex rate had jumped up by some 33% from Le3,000 to Le4,000 for $1, the Government of President Koroma, in its wisdom, had refused to increase the pump price accordingly so as to cushion the effects of the GST that had been recently implemented.

"As soon as we increase pump price of fuel, everything related such as transport fares and prices of commodities will increase and so it was a political decision for the Government to provide subsidies rather than increase the price according to the fixed formula. President Koroma was sensitive to the needs of the people he was serving. Unfortunately, it was not economically wise to continue to subsidise. It was politics versus economics and at the end of the day, we have had to be realistic," Carew explained adding, "we now have the political approval to implement a cessation of the Government subsidies on price of petrol".

"I am sorry but I really prefer not to comment on that question," Carew however said in response to our direct question of "Will petrol price shoot up again come Monday morning?"

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