Nationwide supply of petrol and other associated products may face fresh disruptions in the next seven days as members of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) on Tuesday served notice of their intention to withdraw their services if their demands are ignored.
Speaking at a press briefing on the outcome of an emergency meeting convened in Abuja, where issues affecting their operations were discussed, the National President of NARTO, Dr. Kassim Bataiya, told journalists that if they withdraw their services as threatened, up to 98 per cent of petroleum products used in the country would not be moved from point to point.
He said the associations were protesting longstanding operational challenges which include alleged unjust withdrawal of insurance premiums from freight payments to transporters by oil marketers; non-payment of accumulated transporters’ claims by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF); delay in review of freight rate by the PEF despite increasing economic challenges; as well as charging of Goods-in-Transit (GIT) insurance premiums on transporters by members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
He also said the associations wanted the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to expedite work on major roads across the country now that the 2016 budget has been passed into law.
The association said if the PEF failed to commence immediate full payment of transporters’ bridging claims, as well as their accumulated arrears of claims for January to May 2016 and oil marketers failed to settle and reimburse transporters’ claims from rejected freight rate for the same period, it would have to withdraw its services and deny petrol stations products supplies.
“Nigeria depends largely on roads to truck petrol. There will be no movement of petroleum products from one point to another when we withdraw our services and you know the implications of that to the economy,” said Bataiya.
He further said: “Consequently, we wish to place the organisations on notice that we have exhausted our patience as our businesses are gradually grounded.
“We are therefore giving them a notice that after seven days from today, if they fail to address the issues satisfactorily, then we would be left with no option but to take all necessary measures legally available to us including the option to withdraw our services in pursuit of our legitimate demands.”