One of the fundamental reasons for electing government by the people is for government to cater for the welfare of the masses and make living conditions reasonable for all. In light of the above, government should be seen formulating policies that abate the suffering of the people. Turning blind eyes to the poor living conditions of the people will be perceived as a breach of the social contract between the people & the government.
Having said that, it is necessary at this stage to start assessing how government has or has not been able to live up to its own part of the social contract.
Let me take off with the pump price of fuel in Sierra Leone.
For about a year since the drastic reduction of price in crude oil in the world market from $ 75 to $21 to 24 per barrel, the pump price still stqnds at three thousand seven hundred & fifty Leones Le. 3,750.
The continued existence of the price differential between the cost of a barrel of crude & the pump price in the country has been viewed by many Sierra Leoneans as a conspiracy between the APC government and the dealers. Such delay by government to reduce the price is also seen by many as one of the many reasons why the living conditions of the people is deteriorating everyday.
The SLPP used to provide subsidies in order to keep the fuel price at an affordable rate for all citizens. The APC government removed that subsidy and has to date not given us any clue as to the reimbursement of that subsidy. Thus, even when the fuel price has fallen in the world market the local pump price still remain constant thereby keeping the people in penury.
The reduction of the pump price has the following benefits;
Reduction of transportation charges, which will help to improve the living standards of the people as low income earners will be able to access transportation at an affordable cost.
It will help the flow of commodities in the market. Consequently, it will influence price control to such an extent that even the poor man will be able to put food on the table for their families.
Moreover, if this government is serious about the welfare of its people, there can be no better time to make efforts at rekindling the country’s economy than after the Ebola scourge, which created the opportunity for massive illegal pocketing of state funds, thereby wrecking the economy. Reducing the pump price of fuel is one step further up in alleviating the economic hardship in the country, since this will inturn bring cost of transportation down to an affordable level and promote the free flow of goods (market economy) across the country.
It is in this light that the SLPP is calling on the APC government to urgently reduce the pump price of fuel in Sierra Leone.
Let me however conclude with the following question:
What has happened to government’s shares in NP?
Rtd. Lt. Lahai Lawrence Leema.
Acting National Publicity Secretary Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).