The Federal Capital Territory’s residents may soon face another round of gasoline shortages, as The PUNCH has reliably learned that tanker drivers have chosen not to deliver goods there because of the FCT’s poor road system and high diesel costs.
This information was provided to our correspondent on Tuesday by sources with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria.
They said that despite the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s assurance that there would be sufficient supplies, members of the National Association of Road Transport Operators were not prepared to deliver the goods to the nation’s capital.
Additionally, it was learned that NARTO members had lost no fewer than seven tankers, some of which contained products, as a result of Abuja’s poor road network.
“As of Tuesday, marketers were ready to pay as much as N1.2m to take products to Abuja, but no driver was ready to put their lives and tankers on the line. There is enough product but drivers are unwilling to go there,” a source with DAPPMAN told The PUNCH.
The marketers also decried the rising costs of freight rates.
“When price of petrol was increased last month, the dollar was between N600 to N620, but it is now N700. Cost of hiring a vessel is now $50,000 per day, including NNPC trucks. It costs more than $50,000 per day to take products to states like Calabar, and we still pay for vessels in dollars”, the DAPPMAN source added.
The DAPMAN member’s claims were supported by an IPMAN source, who emphasized that tanker drivers were reluctant to transport goods from Warri to Abuja due to poor roads.
Aloga Ignatius, the executive secretary of the National Association of Road Transport Operators, declined to comment on the situation when approached.
“I’m in a meeting. Can’t talk,” He then instructed our correspondent to send a text message, but as of the time this report was filed, no text had been returned.
Akpan Ekpo, an economics and public policy professor at the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, urged the federal government to replace tankers with trains as a new mode of transportation for petroleum products across the nation.
He stated: “If the drivers’ refusal to take products to Abuja persists, it will cause hoarding and then scarcity, which will lead to high prices. This news is definitely not good for the economy because it will affect our GDP, and increase inflation.
“Nigeria should adopt the method of moving petrol through trains. Moving products through tankers is old fashioned. And again, the roads should be repaired as soon as possible,” he said.
The change follows a recent period of scarcity in the FCT that lasted from February until July.