The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has threatened to stop haulage of petroleum products across the country over N430 per litre cost of diesel and other operational challenges.
NARTO National President Yusuf Lawal Othman stated in Abuja Monday that operational cost has become unbearable and would in the coming week cripple haulage of products.
While some states including the Federal Capital Territory has been struggling with fuel scarcity despite promises of sufficient petroleum products by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Othman said the challenge could escalate across the country.
The association had earlier decried the delay in the payment of about N45 billion bridging cost, demanding for an increase in the transportation allowance factored into the pump price of petrol but the continuation of the payment of petrol subsidy meant that the freight cost would remain.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government had hinted at a 20 per cent hike in the cost of freighting petrol across the country, as part of measures to boost the revenue of transport owners. The increase would have raised the cost of bridging petrol to N9.11 per litre from N7.51 in the petrol pricing template of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.
Decrying the prevailing situation, Othman said, We will tell them (tanker drivers) to park if nothing is done because we can’t operate in such way.”
“Therefore, transporters whose freight rate is fixed and regulated cannot sustain the business if nothing is done.
“We can’t operate. We can’t work if nothing is done to increase the freight rate. The condition is unbearable because of cost of diesel.”
He urged the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to urgently increase the freight rate to reflect the present cost of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) diesel and spare parts.
According to him, ex-depot cost of diesel soared to N401 per litre on Monday.
Othman cried other that it might hit N420 per litre at the filling stations if something is not done urgently.
For there to be leeway, Othman asked the Federal Government to convene a stakeholder meeting to increase the freight rate and address other pressing issues of cost of operation.
“We are appealing to the CEO of the downstream regulatory agency. He has to sit down with us immediately and ensure that the freight rate is increased to reflect the rising cost of diesel and other spare parts,” Othman said.
“We have a problem. Today, the price of AGO ex-depot is N401 per litre. It means that in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, it will reach N420 to N430. At the filling station it will reach like N450.
“It is just to regulate our rising operation cost. It is as simple as that. Otherwise, our people have parked their trucks and more people are going to park.”