Fuel Scarcity Begins As Oil Marketers Suspend Operations

Ongoing Fuel Scarcity May Persist Till June, Says Marketers

In light of the high expense of operating and maintaining the vehicles used in the distribution of petroleum products, the Federal Government has promised to address the concerns of oil transporters and distributors in order to ensure seamless distribution. The appeal came after the decision of oil marketers to cease oil shipments, which resulted in a lengthy gasoline line.

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), asserted that the government has responded to the issue promptly after meeting with a few downstream oil players.

Members of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) are among the stakeholders.

The meeting became necessary in view of fuel queues which returned to various fuel stations.

This development is as a result of the suspension of operations by NARTO, in fulfilment of their threat to suspend lifting of petroleum products nationwide and down tools from Monday due to high cost of operations and maintenance.

NARTO and the oil marketers had complained of the high cost of diesel selling at over N1300 per litre required to fuel their trucks to transport and distribute petroleum products nationwide.

Many fuel stations were not dispensing the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as fuel, while few marketers that were dispensing have long queues and sold between N617 and N675 per litre.

The NNPC Ltd. retail outlets that currently sell at N617 per litre also had long queues, while black marketers were seen on the roads. The minister however, said the transporters had demonstrated patriotism and assured of constant and sustained engagement to find lasting solutions to their challenges.

“Nigerians are already going through a lot as a result of the circumstances we found ourselves in. The issues they raised are commercial and as a government, we have to intervene so that Nigerians will not suffer. At the end of the engagement, there will be a solution,” he said.

Speaking with NAN after the meeting, NARTO President, Yusuf Othman, said the meeting was fruitful because the minister appreciated them and assured them of the government’s readiness to tackle their challenges. We are not fighting the government and it is not government business anymore to pay us freight rates, rather it is in the hands of the oil marketers.

“The oil marketers also made some increase in the freight rate which should be addressed too. The minister promised to meet with us and the marketers on Tuesday,” Othman told NAN. The engagement which is expected to find a lasting solution to the challenges continues on Tuesday.

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