Relief as NARTO Suspends Strike, FG to Pay Bridging Claims

Relief as NARTO Suspends Strike, FG to Pay Bridging Claims

•Kyari: Lack of investment, uncertainty, multiple taxation hindering Nigeria’s energy security

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

There was relief across the nation yesterday as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) decided to call off its two-day strike action, following the federal government’s decision to pay the group’s outstanding bridging claims.

Speaking after negotiations which spanned two days in Abuja,  stakeholders, including the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said all outstanding bridging claims would be verified and paid by the government.

However, he noted that many of  the issues raised by the transporters were commercial in nature.

“I want to announce to Nigerians that after consultations with all stakeholders, we have come to a conclusion that the strike will be called off.

“All the issues they raised have been addressed and I have also given commitments on behalf of the government that going forward the government will do what it is expected to do.

“We have given our commitment and we have started paying some of the bridging claims. We have also committed that in the next four weeks, maximum by the middle of next month, we would have been done with the reconciliation so that those that are owing will pay up,” Lokpobiri said.

Also speaking, National President of NARTO , Yusuf Othman said an agreement has been reached with the government and oil marketers.

He said that part of the deal reached is that there will be an improvement in the freight rate from the current N32 per litre, but declined to name the new rate.

Othman added: “This has no relation with the pump price. Our agitation is as regards the freight rate, for the transportation of petrol.

” In any case, you have to transport the fuel before you sell it and if the amount they are paying is not adequate to move the product to the stations, you will not see it to buy.”

Meanwhile, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, has listed some of the impediments to the achievement of energy security in Nigeria to include lack of investment in the energy sector.

He said this was due to uncertainty in the business environment and multiple taxation, adding that in the last 10 years, less than 3 per cent of the total investment flow into Africa came into Nigeria.

 According to him, no public wealth creation endeavour can achieve any meaningful success without energy security.

Kyari spoke during a presentation at the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) Public Wealth Management Conference which held in Abuja yesterday.

He noted that all other wealth creating activities such as agriculture rely heavily on one form of energy or the other to thrive, according to a statement by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of the company, Mr Olufemi Soneye.

“If you don’t have energy, you don’t have agriculture. You can do all the agriculture but you can’t take it to the market, you may not be able to preserve it, you can’t even export it. So, all those indices are clearly connected to the ability to create energy,” he emphasised.

He disclosed that Nigeria has a huge energy deficit with about 70 per cent of the population lacking access to clean cooking fuel and over 50 per cent lacking access to electricity.

He, however, assured that NNPC was working hard to lay the foundation for sustainable wealth creation by filling the energy deficit gap.

He stressed that the company’s growth trajectory from a loss position N803 billion in 2018 to N2.5 trillion in 2022 was a testimony to the abundant potential of NNPC to lead the process of wealth creation in the country.

He emphasised that in spite of the challenges, NNPC Ltd is still the highest tax paying corporate entity in Nigeria.

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