By Pa Modou Cham
Ansumana Sanneh, the director general of Public Regulatory Authority (PURA) has disclosed that his institution has since 1 Feb., 2018, dispatched legal notices to non-compliant service stations to regularise their licence status by 7 Feb., 2019 or risk being shut down.
However, PURA said it will act by shutting 11 petrol stations this week for failure to comply with the Petroleum Product Act.
"As of this morning, 8 Feb., 2019, the following service petrol stations have been ordered to suspend their operations until they regularise their licence status with PURA pursuant to Section 6(2) of the Petroleum Product Act, 2016. The Act prohibits a person from "petroleum products supply operation without obtaining a licence under the Act."
This was revealed at a press conference held at PURA's main office on Friday.
He added that their monitors were on their way to see if any of the listed stations is found wanting. The station will be shut down until their status is regularised in line with the Act. Petrol stations that risk closure include Demba Doo, Halal Oil, Marigo Oil, Kamanka Oil, Sandale Oil, Kairawan Bridge, Sam Petrol Station, Drammeh Oil, Dibba Oil, Jallow Oil and Alhagi Momodou Yaya Jallow.
He urged all non-licenced retail petroleum stations to regularise their licencing status in order to operate legally in the petroleum sector.
Momodou Lamin Sompo Ceesay, director of Energy and Water said they may close these stations because operators haven't gone under licencing and they are mainly own by individuals.
He added that there will not be any major impact for consumers to purchase oil throughout the country. "If you look at the country, we have 122 petrol stations and the closure of 11 stations will not impact much on the people. We have been giving them time over the past two years to make sure there is no disruptions in basic public services."
Junkung Jobarteh, senior manager, Legal Licencing and Enforcement, stated that there are different categories of licence that they have, explaining that there are export and import licences. He said their actions will encourage those operating without license to come forward and obtain the licence. "Any station that is closed, we will put a cross banner and notice paper to inform people."
Solo Sima, director, Consumer Affairs reiterated that licencing shouldn't been seen as penalizing people, saying it is a protection mechanism to monitor the quality they sell, premises and the conditions as well.
He noted that PURA is a multi-sectorial unit body; and in order to regulate them, they have to bring them on board so that they are licenced and set standard.