22 January 2015, Lagos – The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has handed down a 10-day ultimatum to the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) Management Board to resolve all the problems associated with ‘Project Aquila’ and ensure prompt payment of bridging claims to the truck owners that lift petroleum products across the country or face the consequences of the actions of the members.
In a letter dated January 15, 2015, which was addressed to the Executive Secretary of PEF, Mrs. Sharon Adefunke Kasali, the association said the implementation of Aquila had been very problematic, while response to application had also been very slow, lasting for up to three months, without taking into consideration the fact that loan amortisation by the banks does not wait.
The letter, which was signed by the National President of NARTO, Mr. Kassim I. Bataiya also added that the locations for fixing Aquila are very few across the country, with some truck owners travelling to distances of over 500 kilometres to fix Aquila.
NARTO also pointed out that PEF should address the issue of problematic transition from the old to the new Aquila, that is, old and new plate numbers.
The association also argued that the issue of inconsistency in the entire Aquila itself is a major problem to its members as it has led to three different sets of Aquilas within three years.
According to NARTO, the undue delay in the payment of freight has also caused cash-flow problems to their members.
The truck owners also accused PEF of non-payment of their members for several months on the excuse that Aquila does not capture trucks that delivered products especially in Calabar and Port Harcourt axis.
NARTO also accused Kasali of refusing to pay for products delivered by broken-down trucks after repairs and described it as very unfair and primitive.
“Our organisation have therefore, resolved that if by 10 days from the date of this letter, PEF fails or neglect to find satisfactory solutions to the above issues, we shall have no option than tp boycott indefinitely, all PEF activities and your organisation will bear the consequences of your actions,” the letter added.
NARTO had issued an earlier warning to PEF to correct all the anomalies associated with the implementation of Project Aquila.
Project Aquila is an electronic business solution meant to confirm loading and delivery of petroleum products at all depots.
The road transport owners had then handed down a two week ultimatum to PEF management “to correct all the anomalies in the implementation and enforcement of the Project Aquila and other PEF generated problems that are adversely affecting transporters.”
Bataiya said the NARTO’s national secretariat had been directed to communicate the ultimatum to PEF.
According to him, the problems associated with Project Aquila are ‘threatening to destroy the business of petroleum product transporters.’
Project Aquila was initiated to effectively monitor the transportation of petroleum products in the countr
– This Day