• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
businessday logo


Fuel scarcity looms as petrol transporters plan to shut down on Monday


Nigeria is facing the threat of another fuel scarcity crisis as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has declared its intention to halt the transportation of petroleum products starting  tomorrow(Monday).

This decision stems from the soaring operational costs experienced by NARTO members, primarily due to the exorbitant price of diesel needed to fuel their trucks for product transportation nationwide.

Concerns over the escalating diesel prices have been repeatedly voiced by NARTO members, who play a crucial role in transporting petroleum products across the country. According to oil marketers, the current price of diesel ranges between N1,250 to N1,400 per litre, varying depending on the location of purchase.

Yusuf Othman, the President of NARTO, issued an official statement from the Association’s headquarters in Abuja, confirming the imminent action. He said that the decision to park their trucks starting Monday is a direct response to the unsustainable cost of operations faced by NARTO members.

Othman said: “Why? It is because what we spend on operations is more than what we get in total, both in local and bridging.

“We will have to suspend operations latest from now till on Monday. We cannot continue to operate at a loss. Most people have parked. A lot more are going to the park. But from the point of the association itself, we are going to suspend operations on Monday.

“We have reached out to various authorities, from the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, expressing our concerns about the exorbitant cost of operations.”

He highlighted the stagnant freight rates, which have remained unchanged despite significant increases in operational costs. Othman pointed out that while the cost of essential consumables has surged due to the depreciation of the local currency against the dollar, freight rates have remained stagnant since the previous administration.

“For instance, the freight rate from Lagos to Abuja has remained the same since former President Buhari’s tenure, despite the dollar exchange rate nearly tripling. This inconsistency is unsustainable for our members,” he said.

Othman further illustrated the financial strain faced by transporters, citing examples of operating costs exceeding earnings. He said that the meager payments received for local trips barely cover expenses such as fuel and maintenance, let alone other operational overheads.

In addition, the association has raised concerns about delayed payments from oil marketers, exacerbating cash flow problems for transporters.

NARTO has also called for regulatory reforms to address issues such as limited access to depots, ambiguous regulations, and difficulties in accessing affordable financing for vehicle maintenance and upgrades.