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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FG calls for dialogue amidst threat of oil marketers’ planned shutdown

Oil Marketers and NARTO Engage in Talks as Government Mediates Amid Concerns Over Fuel Price and Operations Cost

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The Nigerian government has intervened in a potential crisis looming over the transportation of petroleum products nationwide, urging oil marketers to engage in negotiations with the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO). The move seeks to avert the planned suspension of operations by NARTO members, slated to commence today (Monday).

In response to escalating tensions, oil marketers and NARTO executives have convened numerous meetings over the past two days, striving to find common ground amidst mounting operational challenges. The Federal Government, through the downstream regulator and the petroleum ministry, is set to mediate discussions between NARTO members and relevant stakeholders in Abuja today (Monday), aiming to address critical issues.

The looming shutdown comes against the backdrop of concerns raised by independent marketers regarding the persistent depreciation of the naira against the United States dollar. They fear that the unabated depreciation could push the non-subsidized pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to a staggering N1,500 per litre in the near future.

The surge in fuel prices, exacerbated by rising diesel costs, has prompted NARTO members to consider suspending operations, citing operational expenses surpassing revenue generation. Yusuf Othman, President of NARTO, highlighted the association’s financial strain, emphasizing the urgent need for increased transportation rates to offset escalating operational costs.

While NARTO initially signaled its intention to suspend operations, ongoing dialogue between oil marketers and the association underscores a commitment to explore viable solutions. Despite expressing frustrations over the lack of response from key stakeholders, including government agencies, NARTO remains hopeful for a swift resolution to the impasse.

Abubakar Maigandi, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, acknowledges the gravity of the situation, emphasizing ongoing efforts to dissuade NARTO from proceeding with the shutdown. He underscores the potential repercussions of a suspension, warning of potential fuel scarcity should operations cease.

Amidst mounting concerns, stakeholders across the petroleum supply chain remain engaged in dialogue, navigating complex economic challenges in pursuit of equitable solutions. As negotiations continue, the Nigerian government faces mounting pressure to address systemic issues affecting fuel transportation and pricing dynamics, striving to foster stability in the nation’s energy sector.

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