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Oil & Gas: NNPCL assures petrol tanker owners operational challenges will end soon

Malam Mele Kyari, Group CEO of NNPC Limited

*Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, urges road transport owners to persevere, noting good times will return to the downstream petroleum sector of the economy ‘very soon’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Malam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has assured transport owners that the challenging business environment in haulage of petroleum products across the country will soon end.

ConsumerConnect reports the NNPCL Chief, who gave the assurance while speaking at the 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM)/Conference of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said the company valued the huge contribution made by NARTO to the effective distribution of petroleum products, particularly the hitchfree supply of products during last Christmas and New Year season.

Represented at the forum by Mr. Adedapo Segun, Executive Vice President, Downstream at NNPCL, Malam Kyari described NARTO’s operations as “national service”.

The GCEO of the Company urged the road transport owners to persevere, noting that  good times would return to the downstream petroleum sector of the economy.

He also stated: “We have the responsibility, as NNPC, to take care of supply and distribution of petroleum products.

“We can’t do that without the support of NARTO. We are pleased with the role of NARTO in recent times.”

Kyari further averred: “I will be failing in my duty if we don’t acknowledge the role you played in ensuring that we dealt with the problem of fuel queues during the Yuletide.

“We see NARTO as very important stakeholders. We feel your pains; we understand how difficult the terrain is, especially at this time, seeing that so much investment has been put in this economy but the situation at times makes you worry about the viability of that investment.

“I would like to enjoin you to continue to do what you are doing. There are always good times and tough times.”

The GCEO said: “We know that tough times never last but tough people; and association like NARTO do.

“The time will come when you will enjoy the benefit of the perseverance we are going through today, and that day will come very soon.”

Deregulation of downstream petroleum sector commendable, says NARTO President

In his presentation at the AGM/Conference, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, National President of NARTO, lamented that despite the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry since May 2023, road transporters have not been allowed to determine the freight rate for petroleum products in Nigeria.

Othman, however, admitted that freight rates had been raised four times in the five years.

He stated: “While the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector is commendable, it has introduced a substantial challenge in determining freight rates.

“In a theoretically free market, freight costs should be dictated by demand and supply dynamics, with rates negotiated between marketers and transporters. However, achieving this has proven difficult.”

The National President of NARTO further stated: “Despite our operational costs, particularly in Foreign Exchange and diesel, skyrocketing to unsustainable levels, marketers consistently refuse our requests for freight reviews, citing government restrictions on adjusting PMS pump prices, even when international market prices for the product increase.”

According to him, road transport owners have had to face increasing challenges, including bad roads and insecurity across the West African country.

“The persisting issue of inadequate road infrastructure in the country remains a significant impediment to the seamless movement of people, goods, and services.

“Despite substantial funding allocated by the federal government, such as N1.6 trillion and N621 billion in NNPC Limited tax credits, numerous critical road rehabilitation projects are still incomplete. The situation may worsen during the rainy season,” Othman submitted.

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