By Yusuf Yunus
The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has appealed to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, to urgently address some of the challenges confronting transportation of petroleum products across the country.
The notification signed by NARTO ‘s President, Yusuf Othman, made available to newsmen on Monday in Lagos, stated that one of the most pressing issues affecting the industry is the decreasing revenues.
This, Othman said, was due to rising operational costs and low-freight rates.
He said if the problems are not tackled immediately, it would have consequences on the supply of the products across the country.
A situation, Othman said would have impact on the economic well-being of the nation.
“If these challenges are not addressed, they pose significant threats to the energy security and the stability of the transportation industry, he added.
The president said transporters are currently grappling with dwindling revenue, high-inflation and economic pressures.
He said that the situation had reached a stage where many transporters are forced to take drastic measures, including cessation of operations.
The NARTO boss said that while these challenges remain, the Lagos State Government’s proposed ‘e-call-up’ system, a solution to ease traffic congestion in Apapa and Tin Can ports, could compound the association’s challenges.
“Under this proposed system, the union president stated that transporters would be required to pay N15,000 to the system operator which would be an added to the finances of the already strained financial industry.
“Moreover, there are growing concerns that other states along critical road corridors may follow suit and introduce similar charges to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo States charge an exorbitant N180,000 per truck each time a tanker breaks down or parks on their highways”, the union claimed.
The union leader noted that the proposed additional financial burden was already threatening to push transporters to the brink, leading to widespread disruption in petroleum product distribution.
“Considering this imminent threat to the nation’s energy, security and the livelihood of countless individuals that depend on the transport industry, I hereby appeal to the honourable minister to intervene,” the president said.
According to him, the union said it trusted the leadership of the minister in finding a solution the impending impasse.
The NARTO boss appealed to the minister to consider reaching out to the Lagos State Government and other relevant authorities to re-evaluate the proposed ‘e-call-up’ truck system and any extra fees that may worsen the difficulties faced by transporters.
“By working together, we can tackle the underlying problems and guarantee the smooth transportation of petroleum products through the nation,” he added. (NAN)