Rep. Biney Gives Reasons for Amendment Bill
By: Martin C. Benson
Pressing on his sponsored bill to amend the Act creating the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Assemblyman James P. Biney says unlike as at present, the legislation seeking to liberalize Liberia’s domestic market will create more employment, reduce petroleum prices and therefore, alleviate the suffering of the masses.
Addressing a news conference at his Capitol Building office on Tuesday,
Assemblyman Biney reasoned that not blaming the LPRC, there is a change
in reality. Where the corporation is not able to import and refine petroleum
- the purpose for which it was established, therefore he said an adjustment
must be made to allow desirous entities who have the capacity to import
petroleum to do so freely.
“This will mean that those who are presently denied as well as the only one already allowed will all import”, assemblyman Biney emphasized and continued, “LPRC will then store more petroleum and make more money from storage fees.” He added, “the workers’ wages will correspondently increase as a result of the competition, the price of petroleum will drop, directly dropping transportation costs”, he noted.
Since the inception of the NTGL when Chairman Gyude Bryant in his inaugural address promised to liberalize the market, this is the first concrete move to legislate laws for a competitive economy system.
Already, the bill was unanimously sent to the committee room in accordance with Plenary’s mandate to be deliberated upon. If approved by the committee, it will in two weeks anticipate to again be forwarded to plenary for passage before it will be sent to Chairman Bryant for approval.
Assemblyman Biney told the news conference that when an issue of this sort is being debated in a democratic society “like ours, it is important for the masses or constituents to know where each lawmaker stands, saying “if you are in favor of this bill you are for more employment at LPRC; competitions that lead to low transportation cost and liberalization.”
He said anything to the contrary will mean supporting a clique that seeks to perpetually control the petroleum market and hike prices to the disadvantage of the masses.
On the question that LPRC’s workers are troubled over the new move, Rep. Biney dismissed the report saying there are people manipulating the workers to perpetuate the status quo adding that his desire to push the bill stems from numerous complaint of denial by LPRC for others to bring in the product and that these complaints were read in plenary.
He said among other things, the US$30,000 non refundable application fees is part of LPRC Board’s craftiness designed to restrict the market saying “that money when paid will adversely impact on the prices, thereby suffering the masses”.
“The LPRC Board was structured outside of the law and so it is illegal, and what it decides is illegal especially when it comes to additional levies that obviously impacts on the prices. When levies impact on prices, consumers pay, transportation will automatically increase”, Assemblyman Biney argued.