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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tanker drivers call off strike after talks with government

Agreement Reached to Address Concerns Over Fuel Transport Costs, Easing Supply Disruptions

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The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has decided to lift its two-day suspension of petroleum product lifting operations following discussions with government officials, including the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri.

NARTO’s confirmation, announced in Abuja on Tuesday evening, signals a resolution to the impasse that led to disruptions in fuel supply and the emergence of queues at petrol stations across several states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking to journalists, Lokpobiri revealed that stakeholders in the downstream oil sector, including NARTO representatives, had come to an agreement to address key issues affecting petroleum transporters. This includes a commitment to revise freight rates and gradually tackle other concerns raised by the tanker operators.

The meeting, which convened since Monday, saw the participation of officials from various regulatory bodies, such as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, alongside representatives from major energy marketers and independent petroleum marketers associations.

The suspension of operations by NARTO, triggered by soaring operational costs, had sparked fears of renewed fuel scarcity, highlighting the vulnerability of Nigeria’s fuel distribution network to disruptions.

Yusuf Othman, President of NARTO, emphasized the necessity of the agreement to alleviate the challenges faced by Nigerians in accessing petroleum products. He acknowledged the collective efforts made to address the concerns raised by NARTO, signaling a commitment to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of petroleum transport operations.

The decision to resume operations comes amid ongoing concerns over the escalating costs of diesel, a vital resource for powering transport trucks. NARTO members had raised alarms over the widening gap between operational expenses and revenues, necessitating urgent interventions to stabilize the sector.

With the suspension lifted, NARTO members are urged to resume operations promptly, aiming to mitigate the adverse impacts of supply disruptions and ensure the seamless distribution of petroleum products across the nation.

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