…kicks against government order banning trucks above 45,000 litres
The retail price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) is expected to spike, albeit unofficially, in coming days as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) on Monday ordered its members to suspend operations beginning from Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
NARTO gave the directive in Abuja to force the federal government to rescind its decision on the proscription of petroleum trucks above 45,000 litres from plying Nigerian roads.
NARTO is the umbrella body 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.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, NARTO’s National President, Yusuf Othman, said members of the association would have to park their trucks on Tuesday and Wednesday as a warning to government against the abrupt ban.
According to him, the association is not unaware of the good intention of the government to phase out trucks above 45,000 litres, given the dilapidated state of Nigeria roads, it, however, faulted the “sudden and prompt nature” of the order.
“We consider the approach to be highly insensitive to the huge investments the owners of these trucks have made and debts they incurred in executing the mandate given by previous administration.”
Othman said the sudden ban was highly insensitive and unappreciative of the efforts NARTO members in the sensitive distribution and supply chains of petroleum products across the country.
He said none of the major transport companies across the country could continue any form of operations with this policy within this short time frame, adding that if the ban was not lifted, the association would begin a full-blown industrial action.
The NARTO president said, “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 a warning.
“And furthermore, issue 10 days 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.”
The association 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.