Reducing the Hardship of the Commuting Masses, After LPRC, Commerce Ease Pain Again

first_imgThe Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), backed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has reduced once again the pump price of petroleum on the local market. This reduction means that motorists and owners of generators are paying 25 cents less for gasoline and diesel at the pump.The wholesale price of gasoline is now US$3.63, or US$3.81 at the pump, while the wholesale price of diesel is US$3.68, and US$3.86.Our Business Reporter David Yates reports that this is the third time within a month these two critical government institutions have agreed to a reduction in the prices of petroleum products.  They did not have to do it because not too many people were complaining.  So despite the decline in world prices of petroleum products, LPRC and Commerce could have continued to stack up greater profits, enhancing the financial viability of the petroleum company. In keeping prices high, LPRC could have argued that it needs the money because of the many contributions it is making to the Ebola fight.  It could have said, moreover, that additional revenues were needed to improve facilities at their Bushrod Island site and later to build their new headquarters.But instead LPRC, with the backing of the Commerce Ministry, decided to go ahead and take action where it really matters now—reducing the price of petroleum to ease the severe pain afflicting the Liberian people and nation during this Ebola crisis, when business is down, the economy has drastically slowed, resulting in scarcity of commodities and, consequently, higher prices. The only problem right now is that the public has not seen a corresponding reduction in the cost of transportation.  The owners and operators of public transport—taxies, buses and motorcycles—have refused to reduce their prices but have, instead, increased their fares across the board.An LD60 ride in Monrovia or Paynesville has been increased to LD80, sometimes LD100; while the round trip fare to Kakata is now LD250, up from LD150; and to Gbarnga LD900, an increase of LD300.  The fare to Ganta is now LD1,300, up from LD1000; while it now costs LD2,700 to travel one way to Voinjama, whereas before Ebola it was LD1,700.  The price of transportation to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County is now almost double, from LD300 to LD550, sometimes LD600.The taxi drivers are arguing that before the Ebola outbreak, they could take as many as four persons in the back seat; but under the current Ebola prevention measures, only three persons are allowed, in order to avoid touching.  The taxi drivers say they have to increase the price per passenger to “make up the loss of the fare for one seat.”We believe the Ministries of Commerce and Transport should get together and deal with this problem of increased fares when the cost of petroleum products, thanks to LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams and Commerce Minister Axel Addy, is going down.  They need to do the math to determine whether the transport owners and operators’ price hike is justifiable, or what can be done to reduce the hardship on the commuting masses.    Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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George Theophilus Ansumana, Jr.

first_imgThe Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Edward Singhatey, has charged journalists from across the West African region to be conscious of the link between stability, economic development and integration as they carry out their role of adequately reporting ECOWAS news and events in the region.The Liberian Embassy in Abuja, quoting a release from the ECOWAS Commission, says Vice President Singhatey stated this in Abuja on May 31, 2016 at an interactive session with selected young media practitioners who were at the ECOWAS Commission for ‘The Get to Know ECOWAS’ program. Liberian journalist Ladymai Hunter-Summon of the Montserrado-based Liberian Women Democracy Radio is among several other journalists from other ECOWAS countries attending the ongoing program, which ends this weekend. The “Get To Know ECOWAS” program, a training for selected ECOWAS journalists, is a study tour and training program organized by the Communication Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung (FES).The idea, according to the organizers, is to create a pool of well-informed media practitioners who would act as catalysts to bridge the information and awareness gaps between ECOWAS and the citizens of West Africa, while leveraging on the strategic importance of the media to ensure that milestones of ECOWAS are brought closer to the people.Mr. Singhatey urged the journalists on the need to be alive to transnational issues and the coexistence of states, also charged them to be more forceful in the reportage of the integration agenda of the regional organization.Intimating the journalists with some of the strides made by ECOWAS, even as the organization is on the verge of rolling out more programs geared towards effective integration, he cited the ECOWAS biometric card system, transnational road and rail infrastructure, trade liberalization and greater cooperation and understanding among contiguous states as some examples in this regard. Vice President Singhatey then fielded questions from journalists on a cross section of issues including the procedure of bringing up cases at the ECOWAS court of justice, institutional reforms, the conditions that warrants ECOWAS’ intervention in member states at periods of political turmoil, the various programs aimed at poverty reduction in the region, as well as the collaboration with the development partners.The journalists were also put through a variety of trainings with a study tour of the Nigerian National Communications Commission (NCC) for an exposition on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a means of integrating people across West Africa, digitization, Internet access and penetration, development of ICT Policy, as well as postal and telecommunications issues. Specifically, the NCC’s Departmental Directors supported the Head of Human Capital, Mr. Mathew Maganda, to give presentations on the dynamics and challenges in regulating the telecoms industry, the role of corporate law and strategy, licensing procedure, as well as the role of the NCC in the enhancement of the ICT landscape in Nigeria, among others.Earlier, welcoming journalists during the opening session on Monday, May 30, the ECOWAS Director of Communication, Mrs. Sandra Oulate Fattoh Elleingand, on behalf of His Excellency Marcel Alain de Souza, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, stressed the imperativeness of having a crop of better informed journalists about ECOWAS and its institutions towards the envisaged greater integration of the area, with an ‘ECOWAS of the People’ in sight by 2020.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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