Home » NARTO President Reveals Why Tanker Drivers Ended Strike

NARTO President Reveals Why Tanker Drivers Ended Strike

Fuel supply resumes as transporters and marketers reach agreement

by Victor Adetimilehin

Fuel tanker drivers have called off their strike after the federal government intervened to address their grievances, the president of the Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Yusuf Lawal, said on Friday.

Government Intervention Ends Strike

Lawal, who spoke at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), NARTO, and the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) in Abuja, explained that the union was offering its services at a loss due to the cost of subsidy removal and the rise in the dollar exchange rate.

He noted that the union is responsible for the movement of petroleum products and supplies across the country, which relies on petroleum tankers and trucks that face many operational challenges, such as high cost of vehicle maintenance, spare parts, road conditions, and insecurity.

“After nobody expressed willingness to negotiate with us, we had no option but to park the trucks and wait for further intervention. It is unfortunate that our services are not recognized by the federal government and even by the citizens of this country,” he said.

Lawal added that the emergence of NARTO was as a result of the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to put its pipelines in operation, which were designed to move petroleum products from where they were produced or imported to the various NNPC depots across Nigeria.

He said that since the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, the cost of transportation has remained the same, while the payment of transporters’ freight is left to be negotiated between the marketers and transporters.

“We have made all efforts to sit with the marketers with a view to arrive at a rate to assist us to continue with the work we are doing to supply petroleum products across the country. All efforts to sit with the marketers proved abortive,” he lamented.

However, he expressed appreciation to the committee for inviting the union to the meeting and hoped that the issues would be resolved amicably.

Committee Seeks Solutions to Downstream Sector Problems

The chairman of the committee, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said that the meeting was aimed at finding a lasting solution to the problems affecting the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

He said that the committee would monitor closely the ongoing repair of the country’s refineries and investigate the activities of retail owners who pay for petroleum products and middlemen who sell the products to the real petrol outlet owners, which is the reason the price keeps rising.

Ikenga Ugochinyere also said that the committee would take legislative action to look into how to reduce the freight cost by ensuring the dredging of the seaport that can open vessel landing corridors in other sectors apart from Lagos, Warri, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, and others.

He assured the stakeholders that the committee would work with them to ensure stability and sustainability in the sector.

Normalcy Returns to Fuel Stations

The meeting ended with a resolution to form a technical committee comprising representatives of NARTO, PETROAN, NNPC, and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to review the freight rate and other issues affecting the sector.

The strike, which started on Monday, had disrupted the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, leading to long queues and panic buying at filling stations.

With the suspension of the strike, normalcy is expected to return to the sector and ease the hardship faced by motorists and consumers.

Source: Punch

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