Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh has reassured the Liberian public that there will not be any fuel shortage before 30 days.
Over the next four weeks, 19,000 metric tons of gasoline (6 million gallons) is expected to arrive in the country by April 5, Min. Tarpeh told the Liberia News Agency Wednesday after he said his earlier statement before lawmakers was largely misconstrued by the media, thus causing an amount of paranoia in the public.
He had informed lawmakers that Liberia may experience shortage of gas due to the disruption in international trade or transportation of primary commodities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mainly in Monrovia, many people are flocking to petrol stations to buy in huge quantity, and some could be on a hoarding spree of the essential product.
But the Minister of Commerce says a special taskforce has been mandated to investigate claims of sporadic hoarding and other forms of unscrupulous transactions involving the product.
The coronavirus is ravaging nations across the world, including those in the West African region, causing nearly 20,000 deaths. Most countries have closed their borders in efforts to contain spread of the disease that is obviously affecting international trade.
The Ministry of Commerce was informed of the 19,000 metric tons of gasoline brought in by importers, but the Minister said it was important for the public to be cautiously optimistic because authorities had been misinformed in a previous situation in January.
The virus is taking an unprecedented toll on trade and commerce and its aftermath could plunge the global economy into recession, experts say.
As for the diesel product, Mr. Tarpeh said there is enough quantity in the country to serve the public, even though he did not state the available quantity. “Diesel is enough,” he assured.
According to the official, it was important for the government to speak the truth so that the people to brace themselves for any eventuality, but not to cause panic.
Importers that will be in control of the sale of the gasoline product when it arrives are divided into two categories: TOTAL, Aminata, Petrol Trade, NP and Connex on the one hand, and makeshift gas stations on the other hand, Min. Tarpeh further told LINA.
Meanwhile, he dispelled looming shortage of rice, which is the country’s staple.
He revealed that 35,000 metric tons (1.4 million bags) of rice is currently being offloaded at the Freeport of Monrovia.