MONROVIA – The Alternative National Congress(ANC) while making eight count recommendations through the office of its Political Leader and Standard Bearer, says actions of the Government of Liberia (GoL) does not reflect concerns for the level of threat that this crisis pose to the country and its people at large. The ANC further said the rising cost of gasoline, and the ripple effects it is already having on the lives of the citizenry are multiple; and noted that current acute shortage of gasoline on the market, has and is having serious negative impacts on access to education, health, livelihood, as well as, the national security of the county, and demands urgent attention; The ANALYST reports.
The Party, in a statement of February 12, 2020 indicates that it has joined Liberians to express deep concern over the continuing acute gasoline shortage across the country, which has forced families, workers, and business people to spend countless hours in queues at gas stations across the country in their quests to access gasoline for their homes, cars, generators etc.
“We recall that the current gasoline shortage dates back to nearly a month ago, when long queues began to form at various gas stations during the county meet sports competition.” The statement containing the recommendations said.
The ANC also said it is compelled to note that despite raging public alarms, the ruling CDC-led government continued until recently to deny the then looming shortage, which has now culminated into a national crisis spiraling the already struggling economy downward,” the ANC said in its statement.
The party observed that as a result of the crisis, transportation of goods and services, as well as the movement of people have become effectively mired,
The party therefore issued eight-count recommendation in which the party amongst other things called on the Weah-led government to consider reaching out to neighboring Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast to explore the possibility of getting supplies of gasoline using road-tankers until a vessel is able to dock at the port, saying that the LPRC in its recently released statement has estimated a period of two weeks before this situation can be brought under control.
The Party also recommended that the government immediately begin a stock-taking of the quantity of rice in country to determine our preparedness to prevent a shortage of rice for the next 3 weeks, saying that the government should provide a timeline for the completion of the dredging of the port and estimated time of arrival of emergency fuel supply.
The Party fourthly recommended to government to close all schools for a period of one week as it has become nearly impossible for students to get to and from school; and to institute an essential-staff policy in the public sector to reduce the workforce and have employees work from home as applicable.
The ANC further wants government dismiss the heads of all government agencies responsible for this sector to include NPA, LPRC and Commerce and replace them with competent technicians; address the nation immediately, speak to the people and stop taking Liberians for granted.
The Opposition ANC, notwithstanding this national concern that has and continues to negatively impact the already worsening-living conditions of the Liberian people, noted sadly that the President of Liberia delivered his State of the Nation’s Address, without at least acknowledging the looming national crisis at the time, which borders on clear incompetence and insensitivity on the part of public officials.
“As if the President’s failure to mention the then looming gasoline shortage during the SONA was not enough, the ANC said President Weah had the opportunity to address the issue officially during the Armed Forces Day on February 11 but did address the nation on the occasion and once again neglected to mention the looming crisis, let alone tell the people how his government is planning to address the crisis.
“This callous silence in the face of serious difficulty confronting the general populace, is tantamount to his tacit approval of the level of incompetence exhibited by officials of his government,” the ANC said.
“It beats our imaginations that the Weah-led government has not felt the need to demonstrate the least form of accountability for the hardship imposed on our people. This level of carelessness, is however, not surprising since most government officials ride vehicles that use diesel and as such do not have to be subjected to the gas shortage and inconveniences with which the general populace is confronted,” the ANC stated.
The opposition political party said no serious government would elect to prioritize politics over the general well-being of its people, to the point of ignoring their pains and leaving them to trek long distances, and or spend considerable portions of their days and night struggling to acquire gas, while officials drive by in their cozy government cars under the comfort of air condition.
“This situation, if not handled immediately, will only get worse. Following weeks of denial, the GOL has not only failed to provide any clear action plan to address this crises, but rather has resulted to blame shifting-something, no citizen is interested in at the moment,” the ANC statement averred.
The statement indicated that the Ministry of Commerce has blamed the shortage on wrong inventory and shallow harbor, the LPRC has blamed the shortage on the restrictions on bigger vessels instituted by concessionaire APM Terminals, which in turn has instituted these measures due to the port not being dredged, while the NPA has admitted that the Port has not been dredged thus limiting bigger vessels and tankers from berthing.
“At the moment, LPRC has estimated this crisis will last for 10-14 days. The dredging of the port is estimated to take about 3 weeks for completion. We have observed with grave concerns the undue hardship imposed on all Liberians, but especially students, workers and business men and women,” the ANC said.
The ANC believes that the government can and ought to demonstrate the seriousness it attaches to handling this crisis, that the next two to three weeks without intervention may lead to shortage in other goods such as rice, cement, fuel, fish, and the country might come to a standstill, thus posing a security risk.
“The avalanche of continuous negative criticisms, rising tension and anger being expressed by citizens across the country against the government’s handling of this situation are typical of their frustrations and pains. We reemphasize the need for some urgent actions to be taken in order to bring immediate relief to the struggling populace before this matter sprawls out of control into street protest and or riots [that could] destabilize the country,” the ANC said in its statement.
The Opposition Political party than encouraged the people to be calm, saying, “To our people, we are in this together. Your anger and growing resentment are legitimate. You do not deserve this suffering. You do not deserve to go through this humiliation and embarrassment.
“The good news is, you have an opportunity this year and 2023, to send a strong message to this government through your votes by rejecting all CDC senatorial candidates and those who caucus with them in 2020 and replacing Pres. Weah with a better leader in 2023,” the Party said, concluding that it is no longer about having the country at heart; but that all have Liberia at heart and that it is about who can get the job done and make the people’s lives better.”