By Francis Ogwo
The freight rate of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) will soon increase from N7.51 per litre to N9.11 per litre.
The announcement was made by the Federal Government on Thursday.
The Executive Secretary of Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi at the 21st annual general meeting of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in Abuja said the government was waiting for labour’s feedback on the agreement reached on the planned increase in prices of PMS and electricity to commence the plan.
He disclosed that payment of equalisation charges will continue to be paid to transporters despite deregulation.
Speaking via a virtual platform, Bobboi said the agency was waiting for the government’s approval before it would begin the implementation of the new freight rate of N9.11 per litre.
In his separate remark, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Kyari Kyari applauded the effort of the association in pushing forward its operations not minding limitations.
“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 urged the association to ensure that its trucks and drivers comply with safety standards at all time which has been put in place by the regulator towards ensuring hitch-free operation at the depot and on the highway.
He promised the NNPC will continue to cooperate with the association to resolve all the challenges impacting the distribution of products in the country.
Kyari also said: “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 urged the transport owners to ensure that their tankers and drivers meet the safety standards set by government regulators for the industry to curb accidents involving petrol tankers.
While responding, NARTO National President, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman urged the government to implement the new N9.11 freight rate to enable the transport owners to improve their services and increase the wages of their staff including the truck drivers.
Othman assured that NARTO would continue to work to improve the safety of their truck and drivers.
He told reporters that “With the promise of the increase in freight rate there will be more income that will allow more investments in the facilities and at the same time, our drivers will be happy because there is a clamour from them to increase their package and allowances from now to next month.
“I believe if that freight cost is reviewed, we are going to assent to their clamour and things will be fine by the grace of God.”
Earlier in his welcome address, he said the association has made significant contributions to the national economy.
He noted that apart from accounting for a large percentage of revenue to government through taxes, rate and levies of all kinds, NARTO is the biggest employer of labour next to the federal government.
The National President said for every truck loaded, about 20 people derive their livelihood in clouding their defendants from origin-destination.
He described the association as the mouthpiece for the projection and articulation of transporters’ problems to the extent that it was able to set up machinery for periodic review of freight rate with the Federal Government for the interest of all transport in Nigeria.
According to him, NARTO provides statistics for the Federal Government, its agencies and parastatals on vehicle costs, operation and data numbers of vehicles in circulation in the country from time to time.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has revealed its plans for the association be the sole transporter of the outputs of all its programmes, including the petroleum products from the Dangote Refineries.