Nigerians are faced with the prospect of yet another fuel scarcity as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said it will stop ferrying petroleum products Tuesday in protest against the ban on 45,000-litre capacity trucks by the Federal Government.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the national president of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal, said the truck owners were withdrawing their service because the ban would jeopardise their multi-billion naira investments.
“We are therefore constraint to allow the decision of all our members to park their trucks as from tomorrow 22nd to 23rd September, 2020, prevail as warning, and furthermore, issue 10 days ultimatum with effect from 24th September, 2020 for a full blown withdrawal of service”, Lawal said.
He said NARTO received with grave shock the recent government decision to place immediate ban on all petroleum trucks above 45,000 litres capacity from plying Nigeria roads.
“The sudden ban is considered highly insensitive and unappreciative of the efforts and contributions of the NARTO members as businessmen and investors in the very critical and sensitive distribution and supply chains of petroleum products across the country,” Lawal said.
He said many of their members had bent over backward to invest heavily in expanding their fleet of various capacities to deliver products to all nook and crannies of this country.
He said: “Our members took loans from various commercial banks with very high interest rates and with no form of support from government. We were doing it for the sake of the country and we all achieved the desired goal of removing scarcity of petroleum products and its attendant long queues from our streets and communities.
“It is therefore distressing and discouraging that when, it is discovered along the line that one of the side effects of our efforts to fix the problem is the fact that our roads were not built to accommodate vehicles that carry loads in excess of 30 tons and the new government now want to impose and introduce a new policy about maximum capacity on our roads, the government is doing so without any consideration for the plights of our members and other attendant effects.”
He said the move by the government will definitely be counterproductive considering the fact that sudden withdrawal of these trucks will impacts heavily and negatively on the operations of our members.