Petrol: NARTO’s Strike, Marketers Position Arms Twisting Authorities Towards Pump Adjustment


Fuel scarcity looms as NARTO threatens to stop lifting petrol from Monday -  Ripples NigeriaAlthough the industrial action declared by the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, had minimal effect especially in Lagos as motorists remained calm on the first day of the action on Monday, industry operators comments and agitations suggests a move to advance their agitation for petrol pump price adjustment.

Oriental News Nigeria, reports that most filling stations attended to manageable queue in most parts of Lagos, but agitators intend to use the situation to tweak a review of petrol price upwards, pointing their argument towards steady upward movement of dollar.

On Monday at the start of the strike, North West Petroleum with usually several dispensing pumps in Maryland freely attended to motorists that queued to buy products

A TotalEnergies outlet at close to Sheraton hotel Ikeja, shut out motorists in the morning because a tanker of Petrol was emptying content into the reservoir.

Our Correspondent who monitored compliance noticed close to normalcy in Lagos indicating that people were not ready for panic buying.

The Executive Secretary of Major Energies Marketing Association of Nigeria, MEMAN, Mr. Clement Isong, in response to the situation said individual marketers are discussing and agreeing transport rates with their individual transporters.

Isong, explained that the PIA and the FCCPC Act do not permit jointly setting rates and prices, and doing so would be anticompetitive and against the law.

He said, “One of the key benefits of pump price deregulation is competition that forces operators, transporters and marketers alike, to seek costs reduction and innovation to bring the best value to customers.”

He however said the operating environment is extremely difficult for all operators, especially with the impact of the almost daily fluctuations in exchange rate on supply chain costs, and managing this volatility will remain a challenge to petroleum products distribution for the foreseeable future.

Further affirming Isong’s position, the MEMAN, in a late Monday press statement said it notes with concern the strike initiated by the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) which started Monday, February 19, 2024.

The Association clarified that there’s no conflict between its members and the transport unions adding that individual marketers are in discussions with their transporters for fair rates, adhering to the Petroleum Industry Act and FCCPC Act, which prohibits jointly setting rates.

It said that pump price deregulation promotes healthy competition, encouraging cost-reduction measures for better customer value but said It is a gradual process that requires time for full price recovery and market competition.

It advised that all stakeholders, including operators and MDAs, must collaborate to optimize the supply chain for affordability amid the challenging environment.

“MEMAN and its members recognize the industry’s complexities and commits to sustainable solutions in cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN)” the statement added

As it stands the downstream market operations appear to be in a confusing state as there seems to be a major disconnect in agreement on exact product bridging rate between petroleum marketers and transporters.

While the marketers are seeking for adjustment on pump price to which it tied to constant upward movement of dollar that has impacted on their operational costs, petroleum tanker drivers are also making similar demand for rare adjustments.

To drive their points home, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, in a letter dated February 15th 2024, notified the Secretary General of NUPENG, of its intention to withdraw lifting of products.

In the letter signed by NARTO’s national president, Yusuf Lawal Othman, the transporters placed their grievance on the table insisting that it will down tools from today Monday February 19, 2024.

Among their grievances is failed negotiations for appropriate and commensurate freight rate for its operations .

Othman, noted that existing rate is not supporting members operations and until a review is approved they will not return to work.

The immediate past president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, and currently BOT Treasurer, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, in his response advised authorities to listen to the demand of the transporters as business are actually collapsing under the exchange rate regime.

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