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LACK OF INCREASE IN TRUCK FREIGHT RESPONSIBLE FOR NATIONWIDE FUEL SCARCITY

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By Mary Abazuo

Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) transporters has on Thursday disclosed that the nationwide fuel scarcity was due to the gradual halt in the operations of truck owners.

The body said that many PMS transporters have stopped transporting and more will do same if the government refuses to increase the freight rate for transporting petrol.

The National President, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, Yusuf Othman, while speaking to journalists in Abuja said, “Worse still, these payments are received by transporters in arrears, usually three to five months after the products are delivered.

“In 2020, there was an approval by the defunct board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency to increase the freight rate by 26 per cent for which the endorsement of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources was needed for implementation.

“However, the Minister of State could not endorse the approval due to the obvious implication of its implementation that would result into either an outright increase in the pump price of PMS or an increase in the subsidy on the product, neither of which the government was ready to do at the time.”

Othman continued, “This situation generated a lot of tension in the downstream petroleum industry with a strong possibility of industrial action from both NARTO and PTD/NUPENG. To douse this tension, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC intervened.

“If the government refuses to comply with our demands, our people are not compelled to run their businesses at a loss.

“The current PMS scarcity is partly caused by a lack of funds to run the trucks profitably.

“Many transporters have decided to park their trucks, and I am sure that many more will park theirs in due course if something drastic about increasing the freight rate is not promptly done.”

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