June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Fuel queues return as tanker drivers suspend operations, FG pleads for time

Endless queues in Abuja…, today. Photo: NAN.

GOVERNMENT is literally on its knees, assuring to address the concerns of oil transporters and distributors to ensure smooth distribution following the high cost of operations and maintenance of trucks used in the distribution of petroleum products.
Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), has been speaking in Abuja on the issues when he met with some of the oil stakeholders in the downstream sector.
The stakeholders the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
NARTO called petroleum tanker drivers out on strike on Monday, saying its demands for negotiations for “appropriate and commensurate” service charges, had been ignored.
Not surprisingly, fuel queues have returned to major cities and commercial hubs across the country on account of the withdrawal of the drivers’ services.
NARTO and oil marketers are complaining of the high cost of diesel which is over N1,300 per litre required to fuel their trucks for the transportation and distribution of petroleum products nationwide, among other skyrocketing costs.
In the nation’s capital Abuja, many fuel stations have not been dispensing premium motor spirit (PMS) or fuel, while few marketers that are dispensing had long queues and sold for between N617 and N675 per litre.
Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. retail outlets that currently sell at N617 per litre also had long queues, while black marketers are seen on the roads.
However, Lokpobiri says the transporters had demonstrated patriotism, and assures of constant and sustained engagement to find lasting solutions to their challenges.
“Nigerians are already going through a lot as a result of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
“The issues being raised are commercial and as a government, we have to intervene so that Nigerians will not suffer (much more). At the end of the engagement, there will be a solution,” he said.
NARTO president Yusuf Othman says the meeting was fruitful because the minister appreciated them and assured of government’s readiness to tackle their challenges.
“We are not fighting the government and it is not government business anymore to pay us freight rate, rather it is in the hands of the oil marketers.
“The oil marketers also made some increases in the freight rate which should be addressed too. The minister promised to meet with us and the marketers (today) Tuesday,” Othman told a NAN correspondent.