There are indications that the Federal Government is working towards increasing the cost of freighting petrol by 20 per cent, to boost the revenue of transport owners across the country. The increase would raise the cost of bridging petrol to N9.11 per litre from N7.51 in the petrol pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEF), Ahmed Bobboi, who gave the hint at the 21st Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said the agency was waiting for the Federal Government’s approval before it would commence its implementation.
Bobboi, who noted that the increase was among the agreement reached by the joint committee set up by the government and organised labour on the hike in the price of petrol and electricity, said the Federal Government was waiting for the labour unions to revert to the larger house. Chief Financial Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Umar Ajiya, who confirmed the possible increase, said government considers NARTO as a strategic partner in the distribution of petrol. According to him, the business of fuel distribution in the country was substantially carried out by tankers or trucks with NARTO as owners.
He said: “The Executive Secretary of PEF made a statement that there is ongoing engagement between the Federal Government and the labour, and at the end of that process, government will make adequate pronouncement as to the effective date of that figure as contained in the pricing template. “Without them, there can be no effective distribution of petrol in Nigeria. So, they have supported the economy.
They are the wheeling party who have collaborated with us to ensure that the whole nooks and crannies of Nigeria are wet with petroleum products which is essential not only to transporting goods and services, but also for us, moving from one place to the other.”
Ajiya urged the transport owners to ensure their tankers and drivers meet the safety standards set by government regulators for the industry to curb accidents involving petrol tankers. National President of NARTO, Yusuf Othman, who called on the Federal Government to implement the new N9.11 freight rate to enable the transport owners improve their services and increase the wages of their staff, including the truck drivers, gave assurances of improving the safety of their truck and drivers.
“With the promise of the increase in freight rate, there will be more income that will allow more investments in the facilities and at the same time, our drivers will be happy because there is clamour from them to increase their package and allowances from now to next month. “I believe that if freight cost is reviewed, we are going to assent to their clamour and things will be fine by the grace of God,” Othman said.