The authorities in Guinea have moved to allay fears of possible increase in prices of fuel, warning petroleum product dealers against any attempt at hoarding.
The move on Saturday followed reports of shortage of fuel with some gas stations outside the capital, Conakry reportedly refusing to sell. This, according to National Petroleum Company, which is known by its French acronym SONAP, led to rise in speculation about the potential increase in the pump prices and causing panic in the public.
“Such action, which goes against existing regulations in force, is meant to undermine the efforts of the CNRD [National Committee for Reconciliation and Development] and of His Excellency, the President of the Transition, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya,” SONAP says in a statement signed by its Director General, Amadou Doumbouya.
The agency ordered all gas station managers who are not selling to immediately resume selling or risk facing the penalty which include losing their license.
The regulator says it has deployed inspectors across the country to monitor the situation, noting that the security services have received instructions to enforce the official pump price of 10,000 GNF.
The monitors and security services will ensure that gas stations do not keep stock while the public is deprived of it, it stresses.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has been blamed largely for shortage in supply of petroleum products across the world, occasioning a ripple effect on cost of living, with the consequent skyrocketing of prices of basic goods and services.
But the Guinean transition government has assured that in spite of the disruptions caused by the international crisis and the increase in prices at the international market, it has no intention to increase the pump price.
Guinea already has one of the highest pump prices in the sub region. In the Mano River Union, it has the second highest pump price, at US$4.23 per gallon [1 gallon is roughly 3.785 liters], behind Liberia with the highest price at US$5.66 per gallon.
Sierra Leone has the third highest price at US$4.12 per gallon, with Cote d’Ivoire having the lowest price at US$4.11 per gallon.
Guinea has been under military rule since September 5, 2021.
The ousting of Alpha Conde by Col. Doumbouya followed months of anti-government protests which was partly inspired by rise in cost of basic commodities, as well as hike in fuel prices.
It seems the junta-led transition administration is determined to prevent similar public outcry.
That’s probably why in spite of the ongoing crisis, it has resisted all pressure to raise the pump price.
In August 2021, Conde raised the price of petrol from 9, 000 GNF to 11, 000 GNF. When the military took over, they reduced the price to 10, 000 GNF.
In contrast, unlike in Freetown, where the government has increased the pump price three times in the last eight months (August 2021 to March 2022), where there are still queues and reported shortage of fuel, in Conakry there are no queues at the stations.
And the Guinean government is determined to keep the situation this way. Saturday’s statement from SONAP comes two days after the latest weekly ministerial meeting chaired by Col. Doumbouya, which was dominated by discussions on the cost of living and measures to ameliorate the struggle of the masses. They discussed plans to prevent skyrocketing of prices of essential goods, according to a press statement.
Besides the ban in fuel price increment, the government also prohibited reexport of certain essential food products.
Doumbouya was quoted telling his ministers that they must all work as a government to ensure that life isn’t made any worse for Guineans.