Nigeria: Pump Price Remains Unchanged As Narto Calls Off Strike

21 February 2024
  • FG to commence payment of N12bn bridging claims

The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has suspended its planned nationwide strike following agreement by major marketers to raise their freight rate while pump price remains unchanged.

The suspension followed a two days meeting with the Federal Government and major marketers after tanker drivers suspended operations and stopped lifting of petroleum products across the country.

NARTO members had threatened shutdown over the high cost of Automotive Gas Oil also known as diesel which has skyrocketed to N1,300 per litre due to the prevailing forex crisis in the country.

Othman Yusuf, the National President of NARTO who directed its members to immediately resume normal operations nationwide noted that the marketers have proposed additional raise to NARTO's freight rate and it has therefore agreed to suspend the strike action.

He said: "This has no relation with the pump price. The pump price remains the way it has been. Our agitation is strictly on fright rate. There has been some improvement, even though it is not what we expected. Going forward, we will continue to engage with the marketing companies based on the economic realities."

Speaking at the end of a two days meeting, Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lekpobiri said Marketers have agreed to raise the margin for freight while government on its part has agreed to immediately pay some outstanding bridging cost pending full reconciliation.

Daily Trust investigation indicates that the Federal government has committed to immediately release about N12billion of the trapped bridging claims by the defunct Petroleum Equalization Fund now collapsed under Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Recall that the Northern Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum in July 2023 said its members would embark on a strike if the NMDPRA fails to pay them over N250 billion outstanding bridging claims.

Speaking after the meeting, Lekpobiri said: "After consultations with all stakeholders, we have come to the conclusion that the strike will be called off. All the issues they raised have been addressed.

"We have started paying some bringing claims that were raised yesterday (Monday). I am also giving a commitment on behalf of the government that going forward, as for the bringing claims, as we make more money, we will continue to pay them.

"We have also committed that by the next four weeks maximum, we would have been done with the reconciliation. So that we will be able to ascertain the level of liability."

The Authority Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Engr. Farouk Ahmed in his intervention said: "When we did the last freight increase in 2022, the price of diesel was N700 per litre, but now at N1400.

"As a regulator, we said, we are not going to enforce pegging price increase but that they should negotiate with the marketers. The marketers were a bit reluctant and that forced NARTO to down tools.

"NNPC and Total have agreed rates with them, it is just a few others that need to agree so that we move forward."

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