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Fuel scarcity imminent as tanker drivers halt operations

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Nigeria may experience petrol scarcity across the country as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners on Monday ordered tanker drivers nationwide to halt operations beginning from Tuesday (today).

The directive was given by NARTO in Abuja in protest against the Federal Government’s ban on petroleum trucks above 45, 000 litres from plying Nigerian roads.

NARTO is the umbrella organisation of all commercial vehicles owners in Nigeria engaged in the haulage of petroleum products, general cargoes, and movement of goods and passengers within the country and the West-African sub-region.

NARTO’s National President, Yusuf Othman, while speaking at a press briefing in Abuja said members of the association would have to park their trucks on Tuesday and Wednesday as a warning to government against the abrupt ban.

He said, “NARTO received with grave shock the recent government decision to place an immediate ban on all petroleum trucks above 45, 000 litres capacity from plying Nigeria roads.”

The NARTO president said the sudden ban was highly insensitive and unappreciative of the efforts of NARTO members in the sensitive distribution and supply chain of petroleum products across the country.

He said none of the major transport companies across the country could continue any form of operations with the policy within the short timeframe, adding that if the ban was not lifted, the association would begin a full-blown industrial action.

“In view of the above, we are therefore constrained to allow the decision of all our members to park their trucks as from tomorrow, 22nd to 23rd September 2020, to prevail as warning’’, Othman said.

“And furthermore, issue 10 -day ultimatum with effect from 24th September 2020, for a full-blown withdrawal of service.”

He added, “If such scenarios occur, we earnestly plead with those who will lose employment, income and the general public that will be negatively affected by this avoidable situation.”

They argued that it was distressing and discouraging for the government to impose the new policy abruptly without giving the operators time to gradually phase out the affected trucks.

The association argued that the ban would be counterproductive as the sudden withdrawal of these trucks would impact heavily and negatively on the operations of members, lead to job losses of about 40, 000 people and cause petrol scarcity.

Source PUNCH
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