Guinea’s military-led transition government has announced a new set of prices of petroleum products, despite repeatedly promising it would not increase the cost of the commodity.
The decision announced on Tuesday saw the prices of petrol, diesel and oil go up 12,000 GNF ($1.36) per litre, up from 10,000 GNF ($1.14).
The new prices took effect on June 1.
This represents an increase of 20 percent, making the cost of the commodities in the country among the highest in the Mano River Union (MRU) sub-region.
A statement from the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Planning said the decision was necessitated by factors in the global market.
The development comes two months after the junta administration promised not to increase pump prices in spite of the global fuel crisis, which has been largely blamed on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. It has occasioned a ripple effect on cost of living across the world, resulting in the skyrocketing of prices of basic goods and services.
At the end of March, the Guinean authorities issued a statement warning fuel dealers against hoarding, amid speculation about the possible increment of prices. That followed reports of shortage of fuel, with some gas stations outside the capital Conakry reportedly refusing to sell.
Guinea currently has the second highest pump prices in the MRU, at $4.23 per gallon (1 gallon is roughly 3.785 litres), behind Liberia with the highest price at $5.66 per gallon.
Sierra Leone has the third highest price at $4.12 per gallon, with Cote d’Ivoire having the lowest price at $4.11 per gallon.
Guinea has been under military rule since September 5, 2021, when the military, led by Col Mamady Doumbouya, ousted President Alpha Conde. It followed months of anti-government protests, which was partly inspired by rise in cost of basic commodities as well as hike in fuel prices.
The junta has been wary about creating further anxiety in a public already impatient over the slow pace of the transition process.
In August 2021, former President Conde raised the price of petrol from 9,000 GNF ($1.02) to 11,000 GNF ($1.25). When the military took over, they reduced the price to 10,000 GNF ($1.14).
Tuesday’s announcement came as a surprise to many Guineans, who fear its repercussion for an already challenging economic climate.
One of the country’s leading trade unions, the Union Syndicale des Travailleurs de Guinée (USTG) or Trade Union of Workers of Guinea, accused the government of taking a “unilateral decision” without regard for its consequences on the masses.
The USTG leadership was scheduled to meet on Thursday June 2 to discuss a response to the fuel price hike announcement.