April 20, 2024
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OIL & GAS

Nigerian Petrol Transporters Call Off Strike

The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has called off its strike after the Federal Government announced payment for their bridging claims.

Energy Afrique earlier reported that NARTO has issued a directive for its members to cease petroleum truck loading activities starting Monday, February 19, 2024, potentially sparking a crisis in the downstream petroleum sector.

According to Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), the government intervened to ensure fuel availability nationwide and sustain a business-friendly environment despite NARTO’s commercial concerns.

This decision came after a meeting with major oil marketers, including representatives from NARTO, Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN), hosted by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in Abuja on Tuesday.

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The strike, which caused fuel queues and scarcity nationwide, was prompted by the high operational costs faced by NARTO members, including exorbitant diesel prices and challenges with freight rate payments. The suspension of fuel transportation and distribution exacerbated these issues.

After consultations, the government committed to addressing NARTO’s concerns, including bridging claims payments, to alleviate the economic burden on transporters. Minister Lokpobiri assured stakeholders that reconciliation efforts would be completed by March to assess liability accurately.

Farouk Ahmed, Chief Executive of NMDPRA, emphasized the impact of rising diesel prices on freight rates, acknowledging the reluctance of marketers to negotiate directly. Despite market deregulation, the government intervened to prevent prolonged disruptions and mitigate the effects on Nigerians.

NARTO President, Yusuf Othman, clarified that the strike was not related to fuel pump prices but focused on freight rates. He confirmed progress in negotiations, though details were undisclosed, and urged members to prioritize normalcy while considering the public’s welfare.

With the strike resolved, efforts continue to ensure a conducive environment for business operations, sustaining fuel supply, and addressing economic challenges facing transport operators and Nigerians at large.

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