From Uche Usim, Abuja

The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and industry operators are groaning over the destabilising effects of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine on their operations and their European partners.

They particularly lamented the rapidly-rising price of Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel) in the country, describing it as completely unaffordable.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) held at Zuma Resort, Niger State, the National President of the association, Yusuf Lawan Othman, told the gathering that the alarming price of diesel was killing their businesses.

With the price of crude oil at $121.3/barrel, Nigeria currently flaunts four dead refineries and as such relies completely on imported Premium Motor Spirit, (PMS) Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel) and Aviation fuel to run its economy.

While Othman commended the federal government for increasing the freight rate granted to transporters, he expressed regrets that the price of diesel has compounded the cost of operations for his members.

He said:” As of today, the price of diesel is impacting negatively on our business , not only our business but almost all activities in Nigeria because as of today, fuel is imported into the country.

“And naturally it’s usually at the international price and everybody knows that the international price is affected by the current war in Ukraine and Russia.

“So of course, because we import it, it’s really very costly.

“We appreciate the effort of the government for this increase, but at the same time, we appreciate the fact that the increase would not have been noticed because of the higher cause of diesel.

“But we know the cost of diesel has gone up and we know the war will not last forever. Very soon, of course, we will expect things to normalise. The price will normalise, meaning that the increase will be meaningful. But in any case, if this continues to go up, we will have no option than to go back to the government.”

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary MOMAN, Clement Isong, who made a virtual presentation, said the ongoing war in Eastern Europe has complicated the volatility in the oil industry in Nigeria as he recalled that marketers are yet to come out of the unpleasant development of contaminated fuel coupled with high foreign exchange rate.

Isong, who sympathized with members of NARTO over what he called an unstable business environment, said the federal government must look into the high cost of diesel. His counterpart, National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria IPMAN Alhaji Debo Ahmed spoke in similar vein as he said the cost of diesel has become exorbitant.

Aside from the high cost of diesel, the NARTO President appealed to the federal government through the Minister of Works and Housing to fulfill its pledge in the repair of federal roads across the country as he maintained that the bad shape of the roads is responsible for fatal accidents.

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He said:”Bad roads have continued to be a stumbling block towards the safe and efficient movement of goods, services, and passengers throughout the country. Many reports have been received of delays in meeting up critical delivery deadlines, vehicle breakdowns and accidents due to bad road conditions throughout the country. This was the reason why the Association in collaboration with PTD mounted a sustained pressure on the government which ultimately led to the approval for the NNPC to use its tax credits worth N621 billion to rehabilitate the roads. Under this scheme, the NNPC will spend the sum N621 billion on the rehabilitation of 21 roads identified as critical, particularly, to the transportation of petroleum products in the country. We have since called on the NNPC and the Federal Ministry of Works to ensure the speedy awards and execution of the contracts and to exercise extreme care in the supervision, monitoring, and payment to ensure value for money. In order to ensure the quality of the work to be done, NARTO has been included in the supervision and monitoring team set up by the GMD (NNPC).”

The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed said his agency was willing to partner with NARTO to ensure success of the Petroleum Industry Act.

“Our mandate in the NMDPRA, as contained in the PIA buttresses the need to continually

strengthen the collaborative initiatives between the Authority and the Association for

the good of our people and the nation, Nigeria. It is on this basis that the Authority has

held series of engagements with NARTO to address issues bordering on distribution and the

Authority has been prompt in responding to the various matters to ensure that Nigerians are served better without compromising on the

interest of your members.

“The Authority is not unaware of the various challenges currently confronting the Petroleum

Industry specifically with regards to petroleum products haulage and transportation, and we

believe they are surmountable with dedication

and selfless services from all key stakeholders.

I implore your continuous support.”

In our continuing coverage of fuel situation and power supply failure across the country, please we need you to find out what NNPC is doing to end the scarcity” he said.

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