By Ndey Sowe
Fuel Marketing Companies in The Gambia have threatened to quit selling fuel in the country if the Gambia Government fails to review the current price in consultation with their Companies, to avoid further economic disruption.
The Companies made the call at a press briefing on the petroleum price structure challenges, held at the GCCI headquarters in Bijilo, on Wednesday August 3rd, 2022.
“We urgently call on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MoPE), to review the current price of fuel in consultation with Fuel Marketing Companies, to avoid further disruption to our economy which is already in a difficult situation,” Momodou Hydara, the General Manager of Jah Oil Company told reporters.
He said they are unable to continue selling fuel to the Gambian public at the current prices set by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA) and Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MOPE) and hopes that the Government will take immediate and necessary steps to remedy the situation by Friday the 5th of August 2022, to ensure continuity and stability in the petroleum sector and the country’s economy; that it is important for the public to be aware and be informed that pricing of fuel products in The Gambia is 100% regulated by the Government of The Gambia, saying that the buying and selling prices and determination of margins are all set by Government to which they “must” comply. He said the August prices of fuel were set by MOFEA and MOPE without consultation with FMCs.
“The current pricing means that we will not be able to continue importing and selling fuel to the public because it cannot cover the cost of importing fuel.
“You cannot force a shopkeeper to sell a product costing D10 at D7 because this will force the shopkeeper to shut down his business. It is standard practice in The Gambia that MOFEA sets monthly prices for the retail of diesel (AGO) and petrol (PMS) in consultation with the FMCs and PURA, in order to maintain fuel price stability. Over the past years, fuel prices have been increasing all over the world due to the very high demand following the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war,” Jah outlined.
Mr Jah explained that these events led to increased cost of importation of fuel into The Gambia, making it more expensive for the final consumers and pushing up inflation across the economy.
“We, the OMCs, have supported the government immensely since October of last year to help curb the rising price of fuel by agreeing to reduce our profit margins per litre of fuel that we sell. We engaged the MOFEA in May to inform them that OMCs experienced significant losses due to the May fuel price set by the government,” Hydara pointed out.
Lamin A. Janneh from Sandella Oil said all of them have a minimum of 50 staff on their pay rolls, together with other costs like electricity and operational costs that must be taken care of.
“We cannot continue like this because at the end of the day, it means we will face bankruptcy,” Janneh said.