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Fuel Scarcity Looms as Tanker Owners Threaten Nationwide Shutdown Over Rising Diesel Costs



Fuel Scarcity Looms as Tanker Owners Threaten Nationwide Shutdown Over Rising Diesel Costs

Fuel Scarcity Looms as Tanker Owners Threaten Nationwide Shutdown Over Rising Diesel Costs

As Nigerians grapple with ongoing economic challenges, the specter of fuel scarcity looms large once again as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) threatens to halt petrol lifting operations starting Monday, February 19, 2024. The impending shutdown, triggered by the exorbitant cost of diesel, could exacerbate the nation’s fuel supply woes, compounding the woes of already burdened citizens.

A Dire Warning

In a stern declaration made on Thursday, February 15, 2024, in Abuja, NARTO President, Yusuf Othman, sounded the alarm, announcing that members of the association would ground their tanker fleets in response to unsustainable operating costs. Highlighting the financial strain caused by the skyrocketing prices of diesel, Othman lamented that operational expenses far outweighed revenue, compelling members to consider drastic action.

Pleading for Attention

Despite repeated appeals to key stakeholders in the oil sector and President Bola Tinubu, NARTO’s pleas for intervention have fallen on deaf ears. Othman bemoaned the lack of response to their letters addressed to various government agencies and industry leaders, expressing frustration over the failure to address their grievances.

Market Realities and Rising Costs

Providing insights into the market dynamics, Othman underscored the disparity between prevailing market rates and stagnant freight rates. He cited the unyielding freight rates, set during the previous administration, as untenable in the face of escalating operational expenses. With diesel prices soaring and freight rates unchanged, tanker owners find themselves operating at a significant loss, unable to cover basic expenses such as fuel, vehicle maintenance, and driver allowances.

The Burden of Bridging

Othman shed light on the stark financial realities faced by tanker drivers, particularly in the transportation of petroleum products within and across states. Highlighting the exorbitant costs associated with local and bridging operations, he revealed the glaring mismatch between government compensation and actual operational expenditures. Despite the substantial financial outlay required for diesel and logistical support, transporters are left grappling with inadequate compensation, further exacerbating their financial woes.

Implications for the Nation

The impending shutdown of petrol lifting operations could have far-reaching consequences for Nigeria’s already strained economy and populace. With fuel scarcity likely to disrupt transportation, commerce, and daily life, citizens are bracing for heightened uncertainty and economic hardship. As the deadline approaches, all eyes are on government authorities to address the grievances of NARTO and avert a nationwide crisis.

As Nigeria teeters on the brink of yet another fuel crisis, the urgency to address the underlying issues of diesel costs and operational challenges becomes increasingly imperative to safeguard the nation’s economic stability and well-being of its citizens.

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