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Fuel scarcity looms as tanker owners threaten to stop petrol lifting next week

NARTO president says the distribution of diesel within Lagos costs tanker drivers ₦140,000 but they are paid ₦120,000.

Petroleum transporters vow to go on strike if their demands are not addressed. [BusinessDay]

This may subject Nigerians to another round of fuel scarcity amid the pervasive economic hardship in the country.

NARTO members have vowed to stop lifting petroleum products due to the high cost of operations following their repeated complaints over the high cost of diesel required to power their tankers for the transportation of petroleum products across the country.

Depending on the area of purchase, diesel currently sells between ₦1,250 to 1,400/litre.

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Announcing the development in a statement on Thursday, February 15, 2024, in Abuja, NARTO’s President, Yusuf Othman, said from Monday, members of the association would park their trucks.

He said their cost of operation was too much, adding that they could no longer endure losses.

“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 park. But from the point of the association itself, we are going to suspend operations on Monday,” he stated.

He added that their efforts to get the intervention of key stakeholders in the oil sector and President Bola Tinubu have not been fruitful.

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He also said all the letters they wrote to the stakeholders and the Federal Government have not been responded to.

“We have written letters up to the level of the Chief of Staff to the President. We have written to the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil). We have written to the Director-General of SSS. We have written to NNPC’s boss. We have written to the NMDPRA. We have written to the major marketers,” he said.

In his analysis of the market situation, Othman said “The Lagos to Abuja freight rate that was implemented when the dollar was ₦650 is still retained now that dollar is ₦1,615.”

“So, by virtue of the rate of dollars, every consumables has increased. But the freight they are paying us has been the same since Buhari’s time. So how is that feasible? During Buhari’s time, one dollar was ₦650. Today, dollar is ₦1,615,” he explained.

According to him, the distribution of diesel within Lagos costs tanker drivers 140,000 but they are paid 120,000.

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“AGO (diesel) alone to distribute fuel within Lagos is ₦140,000 because it is ₦1,400/litre. So, they give you ₦120,000 and you spend ₦140,000. So how do you want to operate? You’ve not talked about the cost of vehicles, cost of loading, driver’s allowance. That is for local.

“What I mean by local is that when you load in Lagos, you discharge in Lagos. And bridging means that when you load from Lagos, you come to Abuja. Lagos to Lagos, we are paid ₦120,000,” he explained.

He added that the cost of moving products out of Lagos to other states was way higher than the amount the government pays transporters as bridging claims.

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