Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government indicated yesterday that it was considering an increase in petrol freight, that is, the rate of transporting commodities, goods and cargo by land, sea or air, from N7.51 per litre of the product.
It noted that talks were already ongoing with representatives of organised labour to hike the rate to N9.11 for a litre, accounting for roughly 21 per cent increase in order to enhance the revenues of transport owners in the country.
In an address at the 21st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), in Niger State, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation (Management) Board (PEF), Mr. Ahmed Bobboi, noted that what was delaying the implementation was the federal government’s approval as well as the reversion of labour on the issue.
The plan will amount to 21.30 per cent hike in freight, that is, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) component of the total cost of petrol.
Bobboi also revealed that the federal government was expecting the labour unions to revert to it on the agreement it reached with the joint committee set up to negotiate the hikes in petrol and electricity prices.
“Two days ago, labour requested for three weeks, for them to go and study the technical report, so that when they agree with the technical report , they will come back and then get approval. So, we pray that labour will do what’s needful,” he stated.
Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari said upon the conclusion of the deliberations with labour, the government would announce the effective implementation date in line with the pricing template.
Kyari was represented by the Chief Financial Officer, NNPC, Mr. Umar Ajiya, at the event which was attended by major stakeholders in the petroleum sector.
Kyari added: “The Executive Secretary of PEF made a statement that there is ongoing engagement between the federal government and the labour, and at the end of that process government will make adequate pronouncement as to the effective date of that figure as contained in the pricing template”.
The GMD also lauded NARTO for continuing to work despite the daunting challenges in the country.
“We are not unaware of the conditions of our roads, the insecurity, the highways, and also a number extortions do take place along these highways,” he told the union.
The NNPC boss urged the association to ensure that its trucks and drivers comply with safety standards always, for hitch-free operations at the depot and on the highway.
He promised that the NNPC will continue to cooperate with the association to resolve all the challenges impacting in the distribution of products in the country.
“We will continue to make payment to PEF for deductions of dues due to you so that PEF will continue to pay your members as at when due,” he assured.
Earlier, NARTO National President, Mr Yusuf Othman urged the government to implement the new N9.11 freight rate to enable the transport owners improve their services and increase the wages of their staff including the truck drivers.
He assured that NARTO would continue to work to improve the safety of their truck and drivers.